April 10, 2021


This Nuclear Reactor Just Made Fusion Viable by 2030. Seriously  CAROLIN, Popular Mechanics)

TAE's current working reactor is nicknamed Norman, after the scientist who cofounded TAE in 1998. The reactor is 80 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 60,000 pounds. This still makes it far smaller than almost any existing nuclear power plant reactor, on par with something like a small modular reactor.

Today, TAE has announced that Norman has consistently reached the 50 million degrees Celsius required to become a sustaining plasma reactor.

There are two colloquial terms for what fusion net energy requires: "hot enough" and "long enough" to end up fruitfully producing energy. TAE says Norman has been running over 600 experiments each month, which is 20 tests each day or about 30 each weekday--reaching the plasma "ignition," or self sustaining for energy, temperature each time.

This means 6 years after TAE began to reach "long enough," Norman has finally reached "hot enough" frequently enough that it can begin to scale up for commercial power plants. And this is why the company says it feels it can build that kind of power plant by the end of the decade in 2030.

With the central fusion technology well in hand, there's still a lot of work to get a fusion plant off (and on) the ground in reality. Everything about the whole structure must be designed, studied, tested, and regulated by the government. Still, TAE is confident about the 2030 time frame because of the proliferation of tools and knowledge in recent years.

"These tools include expanded scientific knowledge about plasma behavior, artificial intelligence, machine learning, faster electronics, magnets, improved diagnostics, shorter latency feedback loops, materials science, vacuum technology, power electronics--the list goes on," the company says. "TAE expects this timeframe to be by the end of the decade."

That was easy enough. 

Posted by at April 10, 2021 11:18 AM