MIT’s fusion reactor sets new world record

October 14, 2016 by  
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MIT ‘s nuclear fusion reactor Alcator C-Mod set a new world record on its last day of functioning at their Plasma Science and Fusion Center . Due to lack of government funding, the experimental reactor closed the end of September, right after scientists broke the plasma pressure record. MIT set the previous record over a decade ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0SzyJr73uE Fusion energy powers the sun, but it’s not so easy to replicate on Earth. In order for scientists to successfully generate fusion energy, plasma must reach a certain temperature, be confined for a certain amount of time, and reach a certain particle density. Density and temperature create pressure, which according to MIT is two-thirds of what scientists require to successfully create fusion energy, so pressure records are a big deal. Related: Princeton experimental fusion reactor breaks after $94 million upgrade The last record, set in 2005, sat at 1.77 atmospheres. The new record of 2.05 atmospheres means MIT improved pressure by around 15 percent. When Alcator C-Mod set the world record, the temperature inside the reactor was more than 35 million degrees Celsius, which is roughly twice as hot as the sun’s center. Other fusion experiments have attained such high temperatures, but at much lower pressures. The plasma in the reactor generated a staggering 300 trillion fusion reactions every second. The area required for this feat was tiny; according to MIT, it was just 1 cubic meter, or about the size of a coat closet. Alcator C-Mod operated for 23 years until Congress decided to stop funding it in 2012. They ultimately decided to fund Alcator C-Mod for three more years, a time period that ended September 30, 2106. Scientists praised MIT’s accomplishments. Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory former deputy director Dale Meade said in a statement, “The record plasma pressure validates the high-magnetic-field approach as an attractive path to practical fusion energy.” If you have questions about nuclear fusion energy or the reactor, MIT scientists, faculty, and students will participate in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on October 20 at 1PM EDT. Via MIT News Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Princeton experimental fusion reactor breaks after $94 million upgrade

October 3, 2016 by  
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After a $94 million upgrade that took around four years to complete, a Princeton experimental fusion reactor recently broke. Scientists shut down the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U) after they discovered a malfunctioning coil. Since the NSTX-U shut down, only one fusion reactor is currently working in the United States. Fusion power could be a source of clean energy that ” could power the world indefinitely .” But US fusion researchers are struggling after the upgraded reactor at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) broke. As one other Department of Energy-funded fusion reactor at MIT was scheduled for safe shutdown at the end of September, as of now only a San Diego facility is operating. Related: Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X stellarator passes new test, bringing us closer to nuclear fusion energy NSTX-U began operating last December at low power, and provided ” high quality data ” for 10 weeks before scientists realized they’d need to shut the reactor down. At first PPPL told Nature they were investigating the faulty coil, but later said even as the coil was being made there were questions “about the strength of the copper ” in the coil. They said they investigated those questions at that time. Non-profit research foundation Fusion Power Associates President Stephen Dean told Nature , “Mistakes like this do sometimes get made, but with all of the experience the fusion program has, it should not have happened this way.” He says it’s possible the problem could have been prevented through more analysis when questions over the copper’s strength were first raised. Although scientists shut down the fusion reactor in July, the fact of the shutdown became known the end of September after the resignation of PPPL director Stewart Prager, who said he had considered leaving before the shutdown and will now step down so new leadership can fix the fusion reactor. Jonathan Menard, program director of NSTX-U, said the faulty coil satisfied specifications of the laboratory and that a similar coil made with copper of the same grade functioned properly. The faulty coil could have malfunctioned through a flaw in the design or manufacturing process, but the scientists don’t yet know which explanation led to the malfunction. It’s not yet known how much it will cost to fix the fusion reactor but it will likely be around a year before it will work again. Via Nature Images via PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X stellarator passes new test, bringing us closer to nuclear fusion energy

February 4, 2016 by  
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Scientists in Germany fired up a doughnut-shaped reactor to heat hydrogen to the point of becoming plasma, which lasted for just a split second. The successful “Wendelstein 7-X” stellarator experiment brings us one step closer to harnessing the power of nuclear fusion, a potential source of clean energy which works much like the center of the Sun. Read the rest of Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X stellarator passes new test, bringing us closer to nuclear fusion energy

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World’s largest waste-to-energy plant in China will be topped with green roofs and photovoltaics

February 4, 2016 by  
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The Wendelstein 7-X nuclear fusion reactor just fired up for the first time, and it could make fossil fuels redundant

December 15, 2015 by  
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Scientists are rejoicing after the inaugural test run of the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) fusion reactor last week. Inside the massive, uniquely-shaped stellarator, one milligram of helium gas was heated to 100 million degrees Celsius, creating a plasma which lasted for one tenth of a second. According to the team operating the reactor, “everything went according to plan,” which means we are leaps and bounds closer to harnessing nuclear fusion technology for cleaner energy. Read the rest of The Wendelstein 7-X nuclear fusion reactor just fired up for the first time, and it could make fossil fuels redundant

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The Wendelstein 7-X nuclear fusion reactor just fired up for the first time, and it could make fossil fuels redundant

MIT’s groundbreaking mini fusion reactor could power the world within 10 years

August 13, 2015 by  
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Engineers at MIT spend a lot of time figuring out how to make things better, faster, and often smaller. Now, powerful new magnet technology has led the way to a groundbreaking design for a small, modular fusion ARC reactor that generates the same amount of power as its larger predecessors. MIT researchers believe this new concept could be realized in as little as 10 years, and this type of power generation could be the clean, renewable energy the world has been waiting for. Read the rest of MIT’s groundbreaking mini fusion reactor could power the world within 10 years

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Sierra Club is pushing to kill 450,000 trees in the San Francisco Bay Area – SIGN this petition to stop the madness

August 13, 2015 by  
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Before Europeans moved into the San Francisco Bay area, the region was mostly grasslands and scrub, with very few trees, except in sheltered valleys. Starting in the early 1800’s, non-native trees were brought in from other parts of California and from Australia and planted because of how well suited they were to the climate and conditions. The Sierra Club, an organization once known for its careful eco-stewardship, is now pushing for the destruction of some 450,000 non-native trees in the East Bay Hills area. The group claims in a lawsuit against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that non-native trees are more flammable and pose a wildfire threat, but there has been a large public backlash. Now, a new petition is collecting signatures to urge the Sierra Club to drop the suit, and stop calling for the deforestation of thousands of acres of woodlands and the use of pesticides like glyphosate to eradicate non-native trees. SIGN THE PETITION HERE > Read the rest of Sierra Club is pushing to kill 450,000 trees in the San Francisco Bay Area – SIGN this petition to stop the madness

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Vo Trong Nghia’s Babylon Hotel in Vietnam is wrapped in a flourishing veil of plants and vines

August 13, 2015 by  
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