MIT Sets New Record for Nuclear Fusionadmin
Stable nuclear fusion is something that has long eluded us. Now, thanks to scientists working on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak fusion reactor at MIT, we are a step closer to harnessing it, Futurism reports. Stable nuclear fusion involves a plasma’s particle density, its confinement time, and its temperature, reaching a particular value (or “triply product”) that keeps the reaction going. Adjusting the plasma pressure has proven to be the most challenging aspect of maintaining stability.
A team of scientists from MIT have managed to set a world record for plasma pressure inside the reactor, reaching over 2 atmospheres of pressure for the first time, with a temperature of over 35 million Celsius. A fixture MIT’s campus for 23 yeras, the Alcator C-Mod reactor uses high-intensity magnetic fields to confine hot plasma in a donut-shaped chamber, according to MIT News. This record-breaking pressure was achieved during C-Mod’s final run.
“The record plasma pressure validates the high-magnetic-field approach as an attractive path to practical fusion energy,” former deputy director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Dale Meade said.
Nuclear fusion is a prime candidate for producing basically unlimited clean, safe, and carbon-free energy. Unlike nuclear fission, which generates radioactive waste, the nuclear energy from fusion is renewable and virtually pollution-free, however, how it can be applied to power generation is still under investigation.