British experimental Nuclear Fusion Reactor successfully ignited
After 7 years of development, a machine called MAST Upgrade in Culham, Oxfordshire, England, successfully energized the experimental nuclear fusion reactor and produced the "first plasma". It was confirmed that all the components could work together to heat hydrogen to Plasma state.
In nuclear fusion, the nuclei of two or more light elements fuse into a heavier nucleus and release energy. The energy of the sun comes from the nuclear fusion in the center. If we can reproduce and maintain the same fusion reaction on the earth on a sufficient scale, we can harvest almost unlimited clean energy.
Of course, we have not gotten there yet, but the success of MAST Upgrade and the first trial run are important milestones in the journey. The original MAST (famous tokamak device) operated from 1999 to 2013.
"We hope that the United Kingdom will become top in the world in nuclear fusion energy technology and use its amazing potential as a clean energy source." British Minister of Science, Amanda Soloway, said in a statement, "The MAST Upgrade device is powered by this country's nuclear fusion and we have taken another step towards our goal of building Britain’s first nuclear fusion power plant by 2040."
Nuclear fusion reactors need some kind of device to control the plasma. Tokamaks-circular devices that use a magnetic field to contain the plasma produced by fusion reactions are one of the highly anticipated designs.
For a long time, tokamak has adopted a doughnut-shaped configuration, but new equipment like MAST Upgrade is a more advanced spherical design, which is expected to bring many benefits in terms of efficiency and performance.
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