It is capable of heating plasma to 200 million degrees Celsius

The path to fusion energy research has recently achieved a major breakthrough. Finally, the Fusion reactor The world’s newest and biggest, that is Much more capable than previous models.

It comes specifically GT-60SAlocated in Japan, a tokamak reactor that allows Keep the plasma heated to 200 million degrees Celsius For up to 100 seconds.

This is the reactor

This four-story reactor uses magnetic fields Superconducting coils It contains a very hot cloud of ionized gas, also known as plasma, inside a donut-shaped vacuum container. This design is designed to induce the fusion of hydrogen nuclei, Releasing energy in the process.

The JT-60SA (“SA” stands for “Super Advanced”) has a total Height 15.5 metres It is capable of containing up to 135 cubic meters of plasma.

To work, use Hydrogen and its isotope deuterium in their experimentsbut leave aside Tritium. This is the third form of hydrogen, but it is also expensive, rare and radioactive, although it is considered the most efficient option for producing energy.

Delay, delay, delay

Building this reactor was not easy, as it experienced significant delays during its schedule. Starting, It was expected to enter into force at the end of 2016. But he did so until about the end of 2023.

However, redesign, procurement issues as well Tohoku earthquakewhich occurred in March 2011, gradually delayed its calendar.

Later, during tests conducted in 2021A short circuit occurred in the cable Which supplied electricity to one of the superconducting magnetic coils.

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In reactors, it is usually attributed to short circuits Inadequate insulation in one of the important wiring connectionsThis damaged the electrical connections and caused helium leakage, deteriorating the cooling systems.

To fix this problem, the team behind the JT-60SA had to do just that Re-insulation on more than 100 electrical connectionsA mission that took them nearly two and a half years.

Reactor future

At the moment, there are some projects on the horizon, e.g Long lasting plasma production Essential for meaningful physical experiments. According to Hiroshi Shirai, project leader at the National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology (QST), it will take at least two years before the reactor reaches this stage.

The JT-60SA will also support another project, ITER, an international fusion reactor under construction in France. This seeks to clarify how fusion occurs It can generate more energy than it uses to produce it.

In the long term, Japan hopes to also have DEMO, an experimental power plant based largely on research conducted by both JT-60SA and ITER. For commercial fusion energyto.

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