Nuclear fusion: The French West Tungsten Reactor sets a new record by igniting for 6 minutes

Nuclear fusion: The French West Tungsten Reactor sets a new record by igniting for 6 minutes

Progress continues in the field of nuclear fusion, gradually bringing humanity closer to an endless source of clean energy. By replicating the chemical reactions that occur in the Sun's core, nuclear fusion reactors are theoretically able to generate more energy than is needed to start the reaction.

Since the beginning of the year, progress has continued. In order to produce energy, the basic parameters are the heating temperature of the atoms and the density of the plasma formed under the heating effect. However, both of these points have had positive experiences.

Six minutes of plasma administration at 50 million degrees

Now it's your turn Central Committee for Nuclear Energy (CEA) to participate in technology development, indicates Phys.org. The research institute operates the Western Fusion Reactor (formerly named Torre supra) in southern France. The reactor is located in Cadarache, close to the ITER project, and features an inner layer covered with tungsten.

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For six minutes, the Western reactor held plasma containing hydrogen atoms (isotopes of deuterium and tritium) to form helium atoms in order to recover energy from this reaction. This is a record duration of heating to 50 million degrees for infrastructure.

Above all, the tokamak-type reactor managed the 1.15 gigajoules of injected energy better. The structure thus generated 15% additional energy thanks to the plasma, which is twice as dense as it was during previous tests. Good news because it is the combination of high temperature and high density that ensures the creation of a reliable and sustainable source of energy.

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“These are great resultsconfirms Xavier Litaudon, a scientist at CEA. We achieved a stable condition despite the difficult environment because of this tungsten wall.”

Tungsten, the coating that could make nuclear fusion a reality

The tungsten coating of a Western fusion reactor can be very restrictive. If this coating has the advantage of letting the plasma slide, it also carries the risk of ruining the power generation process. Because it would be enough to find a small fraction of tungsten in the plasma to cool it significantly. Causing a change in reaction.

Although the carbon layer inside a tokamak reactor is easily tamed, this material can retain fuel. This represents a very high risk that long-term testing will not be successful, especially for large models.

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However, the western reactor serves as a pilot base for the ITER pilot project, which aims to become the world's largest tokamak. This facility is scheduled to enter service in 2030 and will aim to prove the feasibility of relying on nuclear fusion as a source of clean, stable and sustainable energy.

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