Nuclear fusion happens when atoms fuse together at extremely high temperatures to generate energy, and this reaction has the potential to produce an almost unlimited supply of energy from very little. This is the process that has fuelled our sun for billions of years, and is unfortunately very difficult for scientists to achieve. We keep trying, however, because it doesn’t produce any radioactive waste, unlike modern day nuclear power plants (which are powered by nuclear fission rather than fusion.)
In a remarkable breakthrough, however, scientists in Germany have recently announced that one of the world’s largest nuclear fusion machines has been successful for the first time. Hans-Stephan Bosch and his team at the Max Planck Institute were able to produce a “loose cloud” consisting of charged particles known as “helium place.” They did this through a stellarator called the 7-x, which is a device used to confine hot plasma with magnetic fields in order to produce a nuclear fusion reaction. The 7-x is considered to be the largest and most well-bred stellarator on the planet. (source)(source)(source)
Basically, the key to nuclear fusion is to control a portion of extremely hot/heated matter (plasma); if done successfully, electrons are separated from their atoms, resulting in the formation of ions. Ions usually bounce off each other, but the process of nuclear fusion places them under conditions which result in them fusing together, which in turn generates energy. This energy output is known as nuclear fusion.
Being able to harness this type of energy would change the world. Nuclear fusion represents a near perpetual source of energy that would wipe out our currently outdated and wasteful methods of producing energy.