We are closer to finding a source of unlimited energy – DW – 02/09/2024

Landmark for sustainable science and energy: UK researchers set a new record in… Fusion power generationThe United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) announced. The achievement, achieved at the Joint European Taurus (JET) area near Oxford, centers hope for nuclear fusion as an alternative An inexhaustible and clean energy sourceable to fight Climate change.

Scientists and environmental activists have long viewed nuclear fusion, which mimics the process by which the sun produces heat and light, as a potential solution to the global energy crisis and global warming. The JET team, using a donut-shaped tokamak, generated 69 megajoules of energy for five seconds from just 0.2 milligrams of fuel, surpassing the previous record by 10 megajoules. This is equivalent to the energy needed to power approximately 41,000 homes for five seconds.

Generating more energy than it consumes

Not only does this experiment represent a scientific breakthrough, it also marks the end of an era for testing conducted at JET, paving the way for future research at ITER, the ambitious mega-fusion project being built in France. Ian Chapman, chief executive of UKAEA, said: “JET’s legacy will be crucial to the design and operation of all nuclear fusion power plants of the future.”

Nuclear fusion energy is a safe and sustainable source, as deuterium can be obtained in seawater and tritium as a byproduct of nuclear fission. In addition, it produces about four million times more energy than fossil fuels, with no waste other than helium.

Despite its success, the JET experiment failed to generate more energy than it consumed, a challenge that nuclear fusion still faces. However, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the United States achieved this “holy grail” of nuclear fusion at the end of 2022 with a method using lasers.

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Power plant by 2050

International cooperation plays a crucial role in developing nuclear fusion energy, a technology that, unlike nuclear fission, cannot be used to make weapons. Projects such as ITER, involving global powers including China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States, bear witness to this collaborative effort.

Looking to the future, if ITER meets expectations, we can look forward to the opening of a prototype fusion power plant by 2050, marking the beginning of a new era in clean and safe energy production for the planet.


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