Even if we are probably still decades away from a fusion power plant, records are still on the rise on the “artificial sun” front. A few weeks after the record of the Chinese Tokamak (100 million degrees for more than 1000 seconds), it is the turn of the British Tokamak of the JET (Joint European Torus) to be talked about, with a new energy power record, i.e. 59 megajoules for 5 seconds (knowing that one megajoule is equivalent to 10 6 joules). That’s twice as much power as the previous record.
Of course, other Tokamaks hold the fusion for a longer period of time, but the record here concerns the level of temperature obtained, a much higher level therefore in the case of the Tokamak JET. The 59 megajoules were obtained thanks to the fusion of deuterium and tritium, two isotopes of hydrogen which would be approached to be the lucky ones of future industrial fusion reactors. To go beyond 5 seconds and one day envisage fusion reactors, the JET Tokamak will not be enough: “Beyond 5 seconds, the copper coils of the tokamak melt”explains Yannick Marandet, CNRS researcher and director of the ITER Magnetic Confinement Fusion Research Federation.
The new Tokamak currently under construction in Saint Paul-lez-Durance was designed by an international team (researchers from 35 countries) to “go the distance”. The precursor of future fusion power plants, it will perhaps be him.
Note: the Tokamak is “an experimental magnetic confinement device exploring plasma physics and the possibilities of producing energy by nuclear fusion” (source Wiki).