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Latest Magnetic confinement fusion Stories

2011-11-11 01:49:29

News from the 53rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics A major upgrade to the DIII-D tokamak fusion reactor operated by General Atomics in San Diego will enable it to develop fusion plasmas that can burn indefinitely. Researchers installed a movable, 30-ton particle-beam heating system that drives electric current over a broad cross section of the magnetically confined plasma inside the reactor's vacuum vessel. Precise aiming of this beamline allows scientists to vary the...

2011-11-11 01:44:33

News from the 53rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics To achieve nuclear fusion for practical energy production, scientists often use magnetic fields to confine plasma. This creates a magnetic (or more precisely "magneto-hydrodynamic") fluid in which plasma is tied to magnetic field lines, and where regions of plasma can be isolated and heated to very high temperatures–typically 10 times hotter than the core of the sun! At these temperatures the plasma is nearly...

2011-01-10 14:01:47

Researchers at the University of Warwick's Centre for Fusion Space and Astrophysics and the UK Atomic Energy Authority's Culham Centre for Fusion Energy may have found a way to channel the flux and fury of a nuclear fusion plasma into a means to help sustain the electric current needed to contain that very same fusion plasma. The researchers used large scale computer simulations to confirm a longstanding prediction by US researchers that high energy alpha particles born in fusion reactions...

2010-11-08 11:37:13

Coaxial helicity injection could make fusion reactors cheaper Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have successfully used Coaxial Helicity Injection (CHI) to generate plasma current and couple it to a conventional current generation method at the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) fusion experiment. After coupling, the combined process generated 1 million amperes of current using 40 percent less energy than needed to generate this current using the conventional means...

2010-11-08 11:35:25

News from the 52nd annual meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics Fusion plasmas in the laboratory typically reach 100 million degrees. These high temperatures are required to ignite the hydrogen plasma and maintain the fusion burn by the production of high-energy alpha particles. One challenge for a fusion reactor is how to contain the alpha particles in the vessel long enough for the particles to efficiently heat the hydrogen plasma. One way that these alpha particles can escape the...

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2010-11-08 08:56:59

News from the 52nd annual meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics When physicists probe the mysteries of plasma, the fourth state of matter, they often discover phenomena of striking beauty. Much as when the Hubble Space Telescope sent back vivid images from space of ionized gas clouds (an interstellar plasma!), new 3D images of shear Alfv©n waves are delighting both scientists and a new generation of science enthusiasts. Plasmas support a large variety of waves. Some of these are...

2009-11-02 11:00:14

Experiments in RFP fusion device show higher currents lead to self-organized helical plasma If you keep twisting a straight elastic string, at some moment it starts kinking in a wild way. Something similar occurs when one increases the electrical current flowing in a magnetized plasma doughnut: it takes on a wild helical shape, which spoils its performance. This phenomenon concerns scientists exploring fusion power, who use powerful magnetic fields to confine plasma during their experiments....

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2009-11-02 10:04:54

Progress in advanced operational scenarios for tokamak fusion devices provides hope for steady-state fusion power plants In the quest to produce nuclear fusion energy, researchers from the DIII-D National Fusion Facility have recently confirmed long-standing theoretical predictions that performance, efficiency and reliability are simultaneously obtained in tokamaks, the leading magnetic confinement fusion device, operating at their performance limits. Experiments designed to test these...