September 3, 2017


MIT Achieves Breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion (Jay Bennett Aug 28, 2017 , Popular Mechanics)

Researchers operating fusion reactor experiments at MIT, along with partnered scientists in Brussels and the U.K., have developed a new type of nuclear fusion fuel that produces ten times as much energy from energized ions as previously achieved. The experiments with the new fusion fuel, which contains three types of ions--particles with an electric charge due to the loss or gain of an electron--were conducted in MIT's Alcator C-Mod tokamak, a magnetic confinement reactor that holds the records for highest magnetic field strength and highest plasma pressure in a fusion experiment. [...]

Nuclear fusion has the potential to revolutionize energy production, with virtually endless power available from common elements like hydrogen and helium and no dangerous waste products produced as a result. Experiments like the Alcator C-Mod and JET inch us closer and closer to cracking the code, using the right fuel, and producing the conditions to spark a full-scale, energy-positive fusion reaction.

As the paper in Nature notes, the findings from these experiments could also help astronomers better understand helium-3 abundant solar flares that erupt from the sun, because that is literally what these fusion researchers are trying to do--ignite nuclear fusion in plasma that is hundreds of millions of degrees, similar to what stars are made of, trap it, and then power the world with the resulting energy.

Posted by at September 3, 2017 9:09 AM