Nuclear Fusion Project Resumes

Joint European Torus reactor and its new lining. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

The Joint European Torus (JET) reactor, the world's largest fusion experiment, is again active. Previously on hold, the project is restarting thanks to the completion of a newly lined vessel that should allow for a full-scale fusion experiment, according to a report in MIT's Technology Review.

The new lining is made of tiles of light metal beryllium, which should allow the vessel to withstand the conditions needed for a self-sustaining fusion reaction. It will also allow for laser-based fusion experiments.

Tokamak magnetic and plasma current. Image from Wikipedia. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

The vessel is known as a tokamak, which is a device for carrying out magnetic confinement fusion. According to Technology Review, its "doughnut-shaped reactor contains plasma made form hydrogen that's squeezed by powerful magnetic fields." It's this pressure and heat that causes the hydrogen nuclei to fuse with helium, resulting in a bust of energy and the release of high-energy neutrons.

For more, check out the full article in Technology Review. You can also visit the European Fusion Development Agreement site here for videos, a photo gallery, and more information about the JET experiment.

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Photo: JET vessel, European Fusion Development Agreement