The hard-working researchers at MIT just got the world a little closer to productive nuclear fusion:
Stable nuclear fusion involves a plasma’s particle density, its confinement time, and its temperature, reaching a particular value (the “triply product”) that keeps the reaction going. The plasma must be extremely hot (more than 30 million degrees Celsius) and it needs to be stable under intense pressure while remaining in a fixed volume. Adjusting the plasma pressure is most of the challenge.
Now, thanks to scientists working on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak fusion reactor at MIT, we are a step closer to controlling it. (Futurism)
“This is a remarkable achievement that highlights the highly successful Alcator C-Mod program at MIT,” says Dale Meade, former deputy director at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, who was not directly involved in the experiments. “The record plasma pressure validates the high-magnetic-field approach as an attractive path to practical fusion energy.” (MIT News)
Dr David Kingham, chief executive of Tokamak Energy, said the important aspect of the MIT world record was that it showed extreme conditions can be created in small tokamaks: the volume of the MIT device is just one cubic metre. “The conventional view is that tokamaks have to be huge [like ITER] to be powerful,” he said. “The MIT people disagree with that view, as do we.” Kingham’s target is for his company’s compact reactors to produce their first electricity by 2025. (Guardian)