Nuclear fusion is being seen as the next major opportunity in replacing the much riskier uranium based nuclear fission power plants for producing some if not all of our next generation clean energy.

The United States of America have set some stretching targets to achieve this ambitious goal. The US Congress originally set a deadline of late summer 2012 to achieve a crucial milestone called "ignition" in the development of commercially viable fusion plant.

Ignition is the point where the hydrogen target produces more energy than was needed to fuse them together.

To try and overcome the many challenges the National Research Council have suggested a number of issues that should be examined further, such as reviewing the alternative targets available, types of laser and the design of the reaction vessel. In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, scientists there are also conducting feasibility experiments based on similar observations.

The benefits of fusion power far outweigh those of the uranium fission reactors. It is carbon neutral and creates no radioactive problems, but benefits by producing hydrogen which can be used for fuel cells for example.

It goes without saying that fusion reaction managed correctly is inherently safer, with no threats of meltdown of the reactor.

There are also time and cost efficiencies which can be made, again improving the viability of the methodology over the fission power generation systems currently being phased out in so many countries around the world.

With the many experiments taking place to standardize an efficient route to ignition, it shouldn't be too long now before we see some results that might help towards the long term goal of replacing the fission reactors.