Indian Scientists Working on a Plan to Harvest Helium-3 from the Moon

India is planned to meet all its requirements from resources from the Moon by 2030, said Dr Sivathanu Pillai, a professor at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Specifically, the mining of helium-3 which is a key requirement for nuclear fusion reactors. Further, the renowned defence technologist said Indian scientists were working tirelessly to mine the moon for Helium-3, which could be used in nuclear reactors to provide enormous amounts of power without any harmful carbon emissions or radioactive products.

Since Helium 3 is an isotope, it can help create a safer nuclear energy for every country. It is believed to be non-radioactive so it will not react violently. It will also not produce waste products like what other nuclear energies are using.

“By 2030, this process target will be met,” he said while delivering the valedictory address at the three-day ORF-Kalpana Chawla Space Policy Dialogue, organised by Observer Research Foundation here on Saturday. He also said that ISRO is also working on fusion energy ITER, adding that a seven-nation consortium was working on mastering fusion technology.





Aside from Helium-3, Mr. Pillai exuded confidence that high availability of thorium — which India accounts for one-third of world reserves — would enable the country to achieve the target of 40,000 MW nuclear power generation by 2020.

Many people within ISRO are hoping that this project will become a success, but only time will tell.





About Fusion and Fission Reactions:

Fusion reactions fuse two lighter atomic nuclei to form a heavier nucleus. It is a major area of plasma physics research that attempts to harness such reactions as a source of large-scale sustainable energy. The problem with nuclear fission reactions, on the other hand, is that it does not occur naturally in nature. The word fission means “a splitting or breaking up into parts” (Merriam-Webster Online, www.m-w.com). Nuclear fission releases heat energy by splitting atoms. The word fusion means “a merging of separate elements into a unified whole”. Nuclear fusion refers to the “union of atomic nuclei to form heavier nuclei resulting in the release of enormous amounts of energy” (Merriam-Webster Online, www.m-w.com). Fusion takes place when two low-mass isotopes, a typical isotope of hydrogen, unite under conditions of extreme pressure and temperature. Nuclear fission produces much more radioactive waste than compared to nuclear fusion which produces close to zero and has zero carbon emissions.

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