Dense plasma focus. Photo courtesy of LPP Fusion

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Realizing nuclear fusion as a practical energy source poses enormous challenges owing to the extreme physical conditions required by the known fusion reactions. These include temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius or more and astronomically high pressures, which must be maintained long enough to reach a net energy output. 

Efforts to achieve this goal are dominated today by expensive, large-scale experimental facilities utilizing ultra-high power lasers and microwave generators, particle beams, giant superconducting magnet systems and other advanced technologies. One might conclude that fusion, if and when it becomes a reality, will be a complex, highly capital-intensive way to produce energy. 

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