Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Paving the way for commercial fusion power plants

Date:
October 8, 2012
Source:
European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA)
Summary:
Latest results from the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion device are giving researchers increasing confidence in prospects for the next-generation ITER project, the international experiment that is expected to pave the way for commercial fusion power plants. Operation with a new lining inside JET has demonstrated the suitability of materials for the much larger and more powerful ITER device.

Interior of JET showing the new ‘ITER-like’ wall of beryllium and tungsten.
Credit: Image courtesy of European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA)

Latest results from the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion device are giving researchers increasing confidence in prospects for the next-generation ITER project, the international experiment that is expected to pave the way for commercial fusion power plants. Operation with a new lining inside JET has demonstrated the suitability of materials for the much larger and more powerful ITER device.

JET, Europe's premier magnetic confinement fusion facility, based at Culham, UK, has completed eleven months of tests to simulate the environment inside ITER and to prototype key components. For this purpose JET has been successfully transformed into a 'mini-ITER' with a wall made of the same materials -- beryllium and tungsten -- that ITER plans to use. Initial results will be summarised by Dr Francesco Romanelli, Leader of the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA) and JET Leader, at the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in San Diego, U.S. on October 8.

At the heart of tokamak fusion reactors like JET is a ring-shaped vacuum vessel in which very hot plasma is confined using magnetic fields. Selecting the correct materials for the inner wall of this vessel is essential. Firstly to minimise 'pollution' when small amounts of wall materials enter the plasma, and secondly to prevent the fusion fuels from becoming trapped in the wall. ITER will use beryllium for the main wall and tungsten (with its higher melting point) for the floor of the chamber -- the 'divertor' -- where plasma is exhausted and heat loads are greatest. A 20-month engineering upgrade during 2010 and 2011 installed a new plasma-facing wall inside JET to validate these materials for ITER.

From the first test in August 2011, the beryllium and tungsten lining enabled more reliable plasmas to be produced. Crucially, researchers from the 27 European fusion laboratories which participate in JET have found that the amount of fuel being retained in the wall is at least ten times less than in the previous, carbon-based, configuration. The results achieved may lead ITER to drop plans for an initial phase of operation with carbon and adopt a beryllium-tungsten wall from the outset, bringing a significant saving in time and cost for the project.

Experiments at JET will restart in early 2013, with the goal of demonstrating plasma performance even beyond ITER's expectations. Looking further ahead, EFDA is already planning a full 'dress rehearsal' for ITER -- an experimental campaign at JET using the optimum deuterium-tritium fuel mix that is needed for high-power fusion operation. JET is the only device currently able to run fusion plasmas with tritium, and exploiting these capabilities will be a crucial part of ITER preparations. ITER Director General Osamu Motojima praised the work being done at JET during a visit this summer and has been discussing collaborations with EFDA on future experiments.

Dr Francesco Romanelli said: "These results are very encouraging for ITER. JET is getting as close to ITER conditions as any present-day fusion device can. If this performance is scaled up, ITER will be successful and take a huge step towards the goal of commercial fusion power."

JET has largely formed the basis for ITER's design and is an ideal test-bed. We hope to open up new collaborations with ITER partners as we prepare for full deuterium-tritium tests in 2015. Already we are working with Indian colleagues on magnetic coils for suppressing plasma instabilities. I hope to build more partnerships so JET's unique capabilities can be used for the benefit of the worldwide fusion programme."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA). "Paving the way for commercial fusion power plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008091548.htm>.
European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA). (2012, October 8). Paving the way for commercial fusion power plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008091548.htm
European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA). "Paving the way for commercial fusion power plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008091548.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins