Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough: MIT Experiments Help Reveal Source of Heat Loss
Figuring Out Nuclear Fusion.
… Contrasted against nuclear fission, the type of nuclear reaction currently in use in our nuclear power plants, nuclear fusion has presented unique challenges that has resisted decades of global efforts and investments into unlocking its secrets. The intense heat and pressure needed to make hydrogen atoms fuse together represents a huge technical problem of nuclear fusion, compared to the simple splitting of heavy atoms (uranium or plutonium) in nuclear fission.
Another problem that has confounded scientists is the problem of heat loss…Learn more>>
Nuclei of lighter atoms collide and fuse together to produce nuclei of heavier atoms and release vast amounts of energy in the process —this is the essence of fusion, and also the energy of this process that powers our Sun. Can we harness this process to meet Earth’s energy demands?
Fusion is the process that produces the amazing quantities of energy that pour out of stars, such as our sun. It occurs when light atoms such as hydrogen become so hot that they fuse, into new elements, such as helium, in the process releasing large amounts of energy.
Nuclear fusion is one of the most promising options for generating large amounts of carbon-free energy in the future… To get energy from fusion, gas from a combination of types of hydrogen – deuterium and tritium – is heated to very high temperatures (100 million degrees Celsius). One way to achieve these conditions is a method called ‘magnetic confinement’ – controlling the hot gas (known as a plasma) with strong magnets. The most promising device for this is the ‘tokamak’, a Russian word for a ring-shaped magnetic chamber…Learn more>> ccfe.ac.uk
ADVANTAGES OF FUSION POWER
– No carbon emissions
– Abundant fuels.
– Energy efficiency.
– No long-lived radioactive waste.
– Reliable power.
New, environmentally sustainable forms of electricity will be required to meet the aspirations of a growing world population.
By 2050, an expected rise in global population from six billion to nine billion and better living standards could lead to a two to threefold increase in energy consumption.
No single technology will fulfil this demand. Each has strengths and weaknesses, and a mix of power sources will be needed to meet the challenges of energy security, sustainable development and environmental protection. Future energy supply options may comprise fossil fuels, nuclear fission, fusion, and renewables.
Our current energy landscape is heavily dependent on the fast-depleting fossil fuels, with 80% of the global energy consumption being based on fossil fuels, and changing this dependence is critical for two main reasons. First, to meet the growing energy demand, which is set to increase by 37% by 2040 according to the IEA 2014 Executive Summary, and second, to cut down on the greenhouse gas emissions.
Once harnessed, fusion has the potential to be nearly unlimited, safe and CO2-free friendly energy source. euro-fusion.org
…High-school physics teaches us that equally charged particles, instead of colliding, would repel each other. To overcome this repulsion, the nuclei need to collide at high speed, and this is achieved by heating the plasma, which makes all the nuclei whiz around faster. As the plasma gets hotter nuclei start to collide at high speeds, and a small fraction of them stick together, releasing a large amount of energy. euro-fusion.org
This Short, Jargon-Free Video Explains Fusion Reactions With The Help Of Ping-Pong Balls.
Watch the 3 minute video>> ccfe.ac.uk/videos
HOTTER THAN THE SUN
FUSION VS. FISSION
It seems confusing that energy can be generated by both fusion (the coalescence of two nuclei) and fission (splitting the nucleus), as they appear to be quite opposite processes. The explanation lies in the size of the nuclei… Learn more>> euro-fusion.org
At the core of the fusion device is a ring-shaped metal vessel. The inner wall of the vessel is lined with removable heat-resistant tiles, and has numerous openings for heating devices and measuring systems. Equally spaced around the device are electromagnets that provide strong magnetic fields to keep the hot plasma away from the reactor walls.…Learn more>> euro-fusion.org
THE FUSION MACHINES
There are two main approaches to realise fusion power on Earth: Magnetic confinement fusion and laser fusion. European fusion research concentrates on magnetic confinement fusion.
The two main classes of magnetic fusion concepts are tokamaks and stellarators.
Learn more about how tokamaks work by taking a tour through the operation and technology of JET. For anyone looking for even more detail we recommend the book “Focus on” in our download-section. euro-fusion.org
JET is a lot more than a doughnut-shaped metal vessel. There is an entire plant comprised of many different systems that work together to create the superheated moments in the torus
Myriad systems pump out the air, cool some parts of the experiment, heat others, inject the fuel and control the plasma, and then clean up afterwards, ready to do it all again. euro-fusion.org
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