September 3, 2014

Manufacturing Begins For Fusion Reactor Parts

Filed under: Uncategorized — bferrari @ 11:58 am

The first components of what will become the world’s largest experimental nuclear fusion reactor are now being manufactured around the world. Once it starts operating in 2020, the multinational ITER demonstration power plant will help scientists understand how to fuse hydrogen nuclei together to make energy, the same phenomenon that powers the sun.

At the heart of the project is the 25,400-ton tokamak, a machine that uses magnetic fields to confine a plasma that burns at 150 million degrees Celsius. The giant magnets used to corral the plasma are now being manufactured at a facility in La Spezia, Italy, as seen in the gifs above and video below.


Inside the plasma, hydrogen nuclei will slam together with enough force to turn some of their mass into energy. This demonstration of Einstein’s E=mc2 will produce a huge amount of energy from a small amount of matter—the U.S. ITER office says one gram of hydrogen fuel will generate as much power as eight tons of oil. The trick that still needs to be figured out is how to get more energy out of the fusion reaction than what needs to be put in to start it. Researchers are making significant strides toward that goal.

The project is being run cooperatively between Europe, the U.S., Russia, Japan, China, Korea and India. The tokamak is expected to generate 500 megawatts of power once it is running at full power. The first plasma is expected to be generated in 2020 and fusion might be seen in 2027.



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