In regular matter, the electron orbits prevent the electrons reaching the nucleus. In Lithium and above, the electron shell keep free electrons hitting the nuclear.
But in hydrogen and helium, there is no full shell – and in a plasma the free electrons DO hit the nucleus.
1 H++e- ->n0
So an atomic or molecular plasma of hydrogen, acts as a strand of neutron star.
For molecular compounds, the neutrons travel through the electron shell, and convert a proton into an electron. For example, a steam plasma has this electron ball park, affecting the nucleus
2 16O2++n0+E → 16N3+->2Be4++e-
So a plasma is an atomic ball mill. Electrons can get through the shell – or as neutrons sail through: the result of a mixed hydrogen plasma.
So for a H plasma a 50x1cm plasma at 2 atmospheres will produce 2.4MW, from 10-18cc of H.
Our experience of steam plasmas produced 1.2MW of heat – as the fissioning of heavy element, damped down the energy release of H fission.
When we did the experiments 2001, our experience of melting even silica tubes made this too dangerous a system. We did get 0.01 atmosphere of H to rise to 2 atmospheres, and the plasma self sustain.
But the steam plasma is the way to go – and my blog on the subject has been read by 14,000 people: surely Sheffield should do more work here – I would be happy to give internet help. Steam engines fired up a steam plasma in the fire tubes.
Even sat in a water bath, they reached 3,000oC, and gave off X-rays. And the He gas was emitted in the chimney exhaust.