Energy

Milestone claimed as experimental nuclear reactor reaches temperature of the Sun

Tokamak Energy hopes to hit temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius inside its experimental nuclear reactor
Tokamak Energy hopes to hit temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius inside its experimental nuclear reactor
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Tokamak Energy hopes to hit temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius inside its experimental nuclear reactor
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Tokamak Energy hopes to hit temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius inside its experimental nuclear reactor
UK company Tokamak Energy has fired up its tokamak reactor and achieved plasma temperatures of over 15 million ° Celsius (27 million °F)
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UK company Tokamak Energy has fired up its tokamak reactor and achieved plasma temperatures of over 15 million ° Celsius (27 million °F)
UK company Tokamak Energy's experimental tokamak nuclear reactor 
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UK company Tokamak Energy's experimental tokamak nuclear reactor 
UK company Tokamak Energy's experimental tokamak nuclear reactor 
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UK company Tokamak Energy's experimental tokamak nuclear reactor 
Tokamak Energy hopes to hit temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius inside its experimental nuclear reactor
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Tokamak Energy hopes to hit temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius inside its experimental nuclear reactor
Scientists tend to the Tokamak Energy's experimental nuclear reactor
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Scientists tend to the Tokamak Energy's experimental nuclear reactor
One of the possible pathways to limitless and clean energy produced by nuclear fusion can be found in hollow, doughnut-shaped chambers known as tokamak reactors
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One of the possible pathways to limitless and clean energy produced by nuclear fusion can be found in hollow, doughnut-shaped chambers known as tokamak reactors
Tokamak Energy hopes to hit temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius inside its experimental nuclear reactor
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Tokamak Energy hopes to hit temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius inside its experimental nuclear reactor
Scientists tend to the Tokamak Energy's experimental nuclear reactor
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Scientists tend to the Tokamak Energy's experimental nuclear reactor
UK company Tokamak Energy has fired up its tokamak reactor and achieved plasma temperatures of over 15 million ° Celsius (27 million °F)
10/12
UK company Tokamak Energy has fired up its tokamak reactor and achieved plasma temperatures of over 15 million ° Celsius (27 million °F)
UK company Tokamak Energy's experimental tokamak nuclear reactor 
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UK company Tokamak Energy's experimental tokamak nuclear reactor 
Tokamak Energy hopes to hit temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius inside its experimental nuclear reactor
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Tokamak Energy hopes to hit temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius inside its experimental nuclear reactor

One of the possible pathways to limitless and clean energy can be found in hollow, doughnut-shaped chambers known as tokamak nuclear fusion reactors. A relatively new player on the scene, a UK company called Tokamak Energy, is claiming a new milestone in the area after heating its ST40 device to 15 million degrees Celsius, similar to temperatures found at the center of the Sun.

The pursuit of nuclear fusion is inspired by the collision of atomic nuclei in stars, which fuse together to form helium atoms and release huge amounts of energy in the process. If we can recreate this process we could have an inexhaustible supply of energy on our hands that brings no harmful by-products, such as carbon dioxide emissions or the radioactive waste generated at nuclear fission-based power plants like Fukushima and Chernobyl.

But to do that we need to create Sun-like conditions here on Earth, which calls to mind one requirement first and foremost – incredible amounts of heat. Tokamak Energy hopes to achieve this through what's known as merging compression, where running high currents through two symmetrical magnet coils generates two rings of plasma, or electrically charged gas, around them.

UK company Tokamak Energy's experimental tokamak nuclear reactor 
UK company Tokamak Energy's experimental tokamak nuclear reactor 

Reducing the coil current to zero then sees these plasma rings drawn to one another and combine into one. This merger is what creates huge amounts of energy and heats the plasma, with sets of magnets designed to stabilize the ring of plasma streaming around the spherical chamber in order maximize the opportunity for fusion reactions.

Tokamak Energy has now fired up its tokamak reactor and achieved plasma temperatures of over 15 million° C (27 million° F), but according to the team, it is just warming up. The goal is to eventually hit temperatures of 100 million° C (180 million° F), which it says is necessary to force deuterium and tritium particles together, on its way to making commercial fusion power a reality by 2030.

UK company Tokamak Energy has fired up its tokamak reactor and achieved plasma temperatures of over 15 million ° Celsius (27 million °F)
UK company Tokamak Energy has fired up its tokamak reactor and achieved plasma temperatures of over 15 million ° Celsius (27 million °F)

"The world needs abundant, controllable, clean energy," says co-founder Dr David Kingham. "Our business plan is built on strong scientific foundations and this milestone is a significant step in our compact spherical tokamak route to fusion power."

Other notable tokamak projects in the works include China's EAST tokamak, which was reported to heat plasma to three times the temperature of the Sun's core and sustain it for 102 seconds, and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), which will be the largest tokamak fusion reactor in the world. A collaboration between 35 countries, ITER is expected to enter operation in 2027.

You can hear Tokamak Energy's CEO Jonathan Carling talk about the company's milestone in the video below.

Source: Tokamak Energy

Achieving 15 Million Degrees

6 comments
highlandboy
Sustainable fusion has been 10 to 15 years away for as long as I can remember. I wish the team luck and hope they are finally successful, but if the past is any guide, I suspect there are many more “break throughs” required, not just an iterative steps.
VincentWolf
We already have all the fusion power we could ever use--it's called the Sun. Just harvest it. It's as simple as that.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Tokamak deuterium tritium fusion reactors are a straightforward path to fusion energy. ITER is designed to produce 500 MW thermal, although it will only run a half hour a day and just heat water. The next phase, DEMO, will use the results of ITER to build fusion power plants in various locations around the world.
StWils
Vincent is well enough accurate but there is more. On average, 50% of electricity is lost through resistance heating in the transmission lines. If one would like to nearly double our electrical supply then use the power generated at power plants to produce hydrogen, pipe the hydrogen to users and burn it locally to produce power at or near the point of consumption. Also, improvements in energy efficiency and consumption can yield far greater benefits faster, cheaper, better, and more environmentally beneficial than giant systems that are consistently 15 to 20 years from maybe succeeding to light a single lightbulb.
dougspair
...It seems that I've been reading about the Tokamak now for maybe 40+ years....and still no explanation about how they're going to get that hot magnetic storm...into useable energy...?
S Michael
So they get it to work. They Still have to run powerlines to your house and charge you an arm and leg for power. This is stupid. Money maker for power companies, costly for consumers.
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