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Nuclear fusion, all the lines of research in progress in the world on “clean” and waste-free atom: from Great Britain to South Korea

technology thermonuclear fusion He returns periodically to discuss politics and get the energy companies excited. More that day, with goals Dicarbonisazione Which makes it necessary to find an alternative source for Fossil fuels to turn on growth economy without continuing to pollute the planet. At the end of September, the Minister of Environmental Transformation slots – then partially retreated Roberto Cingolani to the fourth generation of nuclear power that promises to be “CleanRekindle the debate about the potential role of the atom in achieving decarbonization goals. in the same days where are you announce it its branch CFS (a branch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) make The world’s first test subordinate Magnet with Hts superconducting technology (high-temperature superconductors) which will ensure that the plasma is trapped in the magnetic fusion process. Thus the first step in the scientific and technological feasibility of nuclear fusion as an energy source was demonstrated. But it is certainly not the only experience in this area. In fact, the race has been going on for years and Italy is also involved in the front row.

What countries are experiencing nuclear fusion? Italy contributes research and technology within International project Iter (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) which is developing a experimental reactor For power generation based on nuclear fusion, which includes China, Japan, India, South Korea, Russia, the United States of America, the European Union and Switzerland. More than half funded by the European Union, Iter a . opened kadrash, in France, the plant where the reactor will be located. Iter and Cfs both depend on configuration tokamak, the nuclear reactor, and on the magnetic confinement approach: in this container, ions (Hydrogen isotopes), which are transformed into plasma at high temperatures, interact thanks to a very strong magnetic field that attracts molecules together and generates energy. There are many tokamaks around the world, even if the countries to which investments and research facilities are directed are always the same – the United States, Europe, South Korea and China. Moreover, many experiences converge in the Iter project.

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Constellation Iter: the tokamak that converges on the European project – The main thing is Jet (Joint European Ring), preparatory to the Iter project to the point of being nicknamed “Little Iter”. This is the nuclear fusion research facility built in Great Britain (at the Culham Fusion Energy Centre) and part ofEuro-Fusion. Jet studies the behavior of plasma under conditions similar to those of a tokamak. Jet’s main mission today is to lay the foundations for operating Iter and to test its technologies. The project is also active in Culham mast upgrade Which tests reactor technology, related physical problems, and the possibility of building compact nuclear fusion power plants. This also works in the context of Iter.

A bridge between Korea and the United States in the post-Iter period – until the Kstar (Korea’s Superconducting Tokamak Reactor) of the National Fusion Research Institute (Nfri) in Daejeon, South Korea, is a flow-through experimental device at Project Iter. In cooperation with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (Pppl) From the US Department of Energy, Korea’s Nfri Institute has also started the K-Demo project, a tokamak that intends to represent the next step of the Iter project, as it will feed energy into the power grid. Pppl Lab expects to generate approx 1 billion watts of power For several consecutive weeks, an output well above Iter’s target (500 million watts for 500 seconds after 2025).

How is China moving? – China is of course also working on magnetic confinement nuclear fusion, with Tokamak East (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak) inHefei Institutes of Physical Sciences (Hfips) from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. East produced plasma from hydrogen for the first time in 2017; In May 2021, Hfips announced that it had set a “world record” by retaining plasma a 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds. These results will serve the next phase of the project, the China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor (Cfetr). According to Chinese sources, the Tokamak Kvitter will be completed in 2030 and will be larger than the Iter (currently the largest).

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The first private company in Great Britain The subsidiary was born in 2009 from the Culham Fusion Energy Center tokamak energy, A private company engaged in nuclear fusion research. Its tokamak prototype, the ST40, which the company calls “the world’s most advanced compact spherical tokamak,” uses HTS’ superconducting magnetic trapping technology like the Eni-Cfs experiment. The goal by the end of this year is to have the ST40 handle plasma at 100 million degrees Celsius. Tokamak Energy’s website reads “a milestone for commercial consolidation,” which will thus be the first company founded and funded by individuals (with a total of 100 million pounds already raised) to reach this milestone. However, Tokamak Energy is also funded by Public funds , Including £10 million from the UK Government (under the Advanced Modular Reactor Program) e Five grants from the US Department of Energy. The British company cooperates with the aforementioned Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory To develop the ST40, as well as with other US research laboratories. has a partnership with CERN Geneva Research Superconducting Technology Hts.

Also in Culham, within the UK Atomic Energy Authority, Great Britain started the project a step (Spherical Tokamak for Energy) funded by the government in the amount of 22 million pounds for a period of four years. In the year 2024, the first tokamak concept should be achieved after the set goals including: owning one Expected net production of electricity above 100 megawatts, use nuclear fusion energy for purposes other than electricity generation and ensuringTritium self-sufficiency (One of the two isotopes of hydrogen used in fusion that is rarely found on Earth.) The step is to be completed 2040.

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Nuclear fusion electricity? Not until 2031 A distant history for all nuclear fusion projects. K-demoThe US-South Korea collaboration plans to complete tests in 2030 and then build the first factories in the Asian country commercial To generate electricity from nuclear fusion. For Iter, the goal is to activate 2025 The world’s first thermonuclear fusion power plant. In 2035, after 10 years of testing, the project will be closed and commercial plants will be able to start. Eni and Cfs anticipate first industrial construction in 2031. Time has run out for European decarbonization targets by 2030. Set to 2050, with a goal of carbon neutrality.

Harold Manning

"Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover."

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