WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – It’s the stuff of science fiction: nearly limitless power with no pollution. Nuclear fusion, generating energy by squeezing two atoms together.

Nuclear fusion is the force that powers our sun. Now, engineers at Lockheed Martin promise they are close to making nuclear fusion a reality here on Earth, reports CNet.

Tom McGuire, who heads the program, made the announcement for the company: “Our compact fusion concept combines several alternative magnetic confinement approaches, taking the best parts of each, and offers a 90 percent size reduction over previous concepts.”

That means the fusion reactor would be much smaller than the giant nuclear power plants we are used to seeing, about the size of a shipping container or large truck.

Lockheed is proposing that their reactors be transported to existing power plants. Those plants could then use the heat from the fusion reactor instead of burning fossil fuels, like natural gas and coal, to generate electricity.

But there’s still more work to day, says the defense contractor. Lockheed expects to have a prototype working within five years.

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