"including a new inner wall made of deuterium and tritium installed in 2011. "
Firstly I presume 2011 is a typo'd 2021?
Secondly I'm no Physicist (though have a Physics BSc!) but isn't that like making the walls of a furnace out of coal?
A milestone was reached this week by the Joint European Torus (JET): the 100,000th pulse of the fusion energy experiment. JET, which is located at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in the English county of Oxfordshire, has a history going back to 1975. The Culham site was chosen in 1977 and the doughnut-shaped tokamak …
More like making the walls of a furnace out of natural gas; deuterium and tritium are both gases. Definitely a vulture hiccup here.
In fact the innovation in the "ITER-like Wall" is to incorporate beryllium and tungsten in various places, to see how the new materials hold up against plasma interactions.
The date appears to be correct, but the wall details are incorrect, as correctly pointed out by steelpillow (my highlighting below).
Quote from an article on sciencenode.org posted OCT 24 2012:
"Last year, we carried out the first experiments with the new ITER-like wall. Doing this in just deuterium, rather than in deuterium-tritium mixtures, allows us to test most of the relevant physics in a more flexible manner," says Lorne Horton, head of the JET department at the European Fusion Development Agreement.
The new wall at JET is a combination of beryllium and tungsten armor, which has demonstrated the hoped-for greater-than-10-fold reduction in trapping deuterium, thus giving efficient fusion results. Further tests for ITER will continue at JET into 2015 and 2016."
So looks like they moved from 'deuterium and tritium' rather than to it.
You make it sound as though there were countries called Britain, Germany and France fully formed in say 300CE. Perhaps the Brythonic speakers escape you (Hi Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Brittainy, Cornwall and many others) too. Then there's the elephant that was in the room, back in the day: SPQR.
History is way more nuanced and frankly interesting than you make out, so kindly piss off.
This was a straight copy/paste from the quoted article. In general when quoting someone else, the convention is to retain their spelling and grammar as-is, rather than correct it.
Granted I could have added a [sic] to make this clear. My guess would be the author was from the US, rather than another English speaking country.
Fusion power is going to be "cheap, safe and limitless".
Except for the massive capital cost of the reactors. Never mind all that beryllium and tungsten, simply the scale and cost of building ITER-sized reactors is staggering.
Except that the reactor vessel itself will become highly radioactive due to all that neutron flux, and all maintenance will have to be done robotically. I remember that years ago, after JET itself had fired for just one minute, the vessel became so radioactive they couldn't enter it for a week.
Sure, it's all short-lived isotopes. Once the reactor has finished its working life, it's expected it will "only" be 150 years before the radioactivity decays to a safe level.
There's a huge stable fusion reactor about 90 million miles away. If only there was some way we could harness the power that it's already sending in our direction...
That's just today while they're workig out how to do it. 20 years from now you'll have breakfast, scoop the trash into a sack, then put the sack into the Mr Fusion in your car to provide the power for your drive to work. If you like to speed you'll pour in a cup of coffee. Caffiene, you know. It'll really wake the car up.
Rolls-Royce are one of several companies pouring cash into "tabletop" fusion reactors, which will supposedly be a lot more practical from this point of view. Apart from enabling the marketeers to reduce those big numbers in proportion with the power generated, before quietly multiplying again by the number of reactors required to do the same job, and not needing a thermic lance to cut a worn-out reactor into removable chunks, I am not clear that this will bring any real advantage. Fusion-powered submarines, perhaps? Just what we need to fire all those sealife-destroying supersonic torpedoes from!
@AC - Fusion power is going to be "cheap, safe and limitless"
Except you are pre-judging based on prototypes and experiments. If World Governments pulled their finger out and actually put some investment in things might be different. Apple spends 14Bn on R&D annually. Annual Worldwide fusion investment is a fraction of that - something between £2-3bn by my back of fag packet calc. That compares to about 170Bn on renewables - mostly Solar and Wind.
The main problem is lack of willpower.
Solar and Wind are both 60+ year old technologies that have suited incremental improvements in materials , process and engineering. Fusion is literally bleeding edge where a whole new industry needs to be bootstrapped from scratch.
Fusion research has been going on for 50 years.
Do you really think that following the current line of research is going to end up with "aha! If only we'd though of this first, we could make the reactor 100 times smaller and cheaper?" Or find a way of fusion without generating neutron flux? That isn't going to go away.
It's a technological dead-end. I suspect the only reason it has continued this long is that in the presence of nuclear test bans, it's the only way to continue to research the related physics of fusion weapons.
I imagine their paths may well have crossed in that case! Now that I think about it, I recall he worked there from the late '60s too, probably from around the time it opened; he was at Harwell before then. I get the impression it was around that time when the funding became less good than it used to be which caused various problems. Still a fascinating line of work though, certainly as an onlooker who spent too much of her career faffing about with financial systems...
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Back then the assumption was that Z-pinch fusion reactors would work for energy production, which it would turn out they didn't. That's when the attention turned towards this crazy Soviet concept of the tokamak reactor.
Tokamaks are ahead in the race now, with China's HL-2M and EAST leading the way to the HL-2M successor, which should be a prototype for a commercial fusion plant.
Right behind tokamaks are stellarators like the German Wendelstein-7X, which just had cooled divertors installed to enable it to run continuously with plasma. If it passes, the Wendelstein-8 (or whatever it'll be called) may form a first prototype of a power-producing stellerator fusion reactor.
Glib statements about the decades it's taken do a lot of injustice to the incredibly hard and very fundamental science that had to be done and many painful lessons that were learned. Thanks to all of the R&D (with admittedly a massive funding drop in the 1980s), we know more about plasma physics than ever before, which is also incredibly useful with e.g. astrophysics.
Just sayin' :)
On the "10 year" thing, I met someone who worked on the plasma [physics at JET - as it happened rather less than ten years ago. She said "the thing that's changed is we now have the computing power to simulate most of the plasma behaviour, instead of doing a try it and see approach. This has hugely increased the rate of progress."
That's one of the reasons why stellarators are at all realistic today, yeah. With solid simulations we were able to figure out the plasma dynamics and create magnet shapes to fit these. Doing that kind of work with trial-and-error like in the olden days would have been exceedingly slow, frustrating and expensive.
I went there once, on the last open day they had before they started using tritium. That meant that it wasn't radioactive, and so they had the reactor vessel open. It's a pretty phenomenal piece of kit. The flywheel generators were also very impressive; one could go down inside these, and it was still warm in there from the last time they'd run.
"Joint European Torus celebrates 100,000 pulses..."
I suppose that, when one can't offer any other proof of progress, and one will be pilloried for banging the "...only ten years away..." drum yet one more time, any claim which is exceedingly difficult to 'see through'---particularly by those responsible for providing funding--- is worth its weight in gold...or deuterium...or tritium...or any other isotope of hydrogen, the use of which sounds amazing to those who absolutely do NOT know any better. This includes most all politician, by the way...a number probably approaching 100%.
Saying that the "...Joint European Torus celebrates 100,000 pulses..." is entirely analogous to the claim of someone trying to sell you a used computer, and proceeding to emphasize how little it has been used, by saying, "...and the computer's clock only has 100,000 cycles on it...".
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