Nuclear fusion device’s 1st test with hydrogen declared a success

Feb 3, 2016

Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Wednesday on an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion, considered a clean and safe form of nuclear power.

Following nine years of construction and testing, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald injected a tiny amount of hydrogen into a doughnut-shaped device — then zapped it with the equivalent of 6,000 microwave ovens.

The resulting super-hot gas, known as plasma, lasted just a fraction of a second before cooling down again, long enough for scientists to confidently declare the start of their experiment a success.

“Everything went well today,” said Robert Wolf, a senior scientist involved with the project. “With a system as complex as this you have to make sure everything works perfectly and there’s always a risk.”

Among the difficulties is how to cool the complex arrangement of magnets required to keep the plasma floating inside the device, Wolf said. Scientists looked closely at the hiccups experienced during the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland more than five years ago to avoid similar mistakes, he said.

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4 comments on “Nuclear fusion device’s 1st test with hydrogen declared a success

  • To be read in a poor French accent. “I told them I’ve already got one.”

    Fusion would be nice, but after years and years of trying and billions of dollars, they can manage to produce a split second of fusion.

    I’ve already got a fusion reactor that will never wear out. Requires no maintenance. Produces energy at zero cost. Completely safe. Is owned by no one. Produces so much energy that we will never run out. Is independent of all political and economic manipulation. I’ve got the sun, a fully functioning fusion reactor.

    Enough solar energy falls on Australia in one day that it could supply the entire world for a year. One wonders what could have been achieved if all the money and time that has gone into trying to build a fusion reactor, had been spent on creating technology to harvest solar radiation. We may not have been experiencing a global warming disaster.

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  • The charge of a kernel keeps the electrodynamic properties in a “cold” state. The structure of function of a proton contains six phase functions. These functions of incomplete structure of open volume (principle of radiation). Conditions of “cold” gradation of a charge define Hydrogen expansion process. In this case, phase functions define external “hot” layers of a plasma background.
    In this case, the content of plasma happens due to cyclic gradation of phase layers, without radiation background.

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  • David R Allen makes for an excellent response, here’s an interesting article on solar power requirements to meet the entire planet’s energy requirements (not sure if I’m allowed to post links …)

    The science of fusion through to viable reactors is still worth pursuing though; there is not much backing to mass-solar plants going on right now and the infrastructure for transporting electricity from sunny parts to less sunny parts is not in place (nor being funded)

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  • Angus
    Feb 4, 2016 at 4:51 am

    The science of fusion through to viable reactors is still worth pursuing though;

    I would hope that this technology will be combined with this (see link) propulsion system, to eventually allow us to travel to other planets, and eventually beyond the Solar System.
    The Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR®) engine is a new type of electric thruster with many unique advantages. In a VASIMR® engine, gas such as argon, xenon, or hydrogen is injected into a tube surrounded by a magnet and a series of two radio wave (RF) couplers The couplers turn cold gas into superheated plasma and the rocket’s magnetic nozzle converts the plasma thermal motion into a directed jet.

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