Key components of one of the world’s strongest magnets were placed on a 24-axle truck in California this week. This electromagnet is so strong that it would be able to lift an aircraft carrier 2 meters above the base of the dry dock.
The plant will eventually go to France, where the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) from which the scientific-technical coalition of 35 countries hopes to be able to produce energy from nuclear fusion on the largest scale ever. If the project is operational, it can produce virtually unlimited energy without radiation risks and CO2 emissions.
The components now launched will be part of a central solenoid (relay or contactor) that is a six-story high , a high – performance electromagnet in the heart of a tokamak – type donut – shaped fusion reactor. The deuterium and tritium gas in the vacuum chamber is heated to iodine plasma ten times hotter than the Sun’s core, and then during the fusion reaction, the nuclei combine to produce a huge amount of energy. The magnets will hold the plasma in a defined shape while releasing the ultra-high energy neutrons generated during the process, which will slam into the walls of the chamber, some of which will transmit energy outward and another will react with the lithium in the chamber and bring in more fuel.
“ITER is a strange experiment that, due to the combination of technological challenges, is unparalleled in history. If we talk to an engineer about the central solenoid and give the dimensions, they say that: ‘It is strong enough to lift an aircraft carrier, or a magnet nearly 18 meters high, yet must be positioned with millimeter accuracy along the center axis of the aircraft.’ If this is called insanity, it is legitimate, “Laban Coblentz, ITER’s communications manager, told Vice.
The parts were made by General Atomics in Poway, near San Diego, and finally by Cadarche in France. into the ITER complex under construction. The construction of commercial nuclear fusion power plants – sometimes referred to as “earth stars” because they use the same reaction as in the Sun – has been a dream of scientists for decades because it would be a safe, sustainable and unlimited source of energy.
In previous experiments, fusion reactions have been constructed inside tokamaks, but in neither case has they reached a “zero point” from which the output energy is greater than the input energy. The closest to this so far has been the Joint European Torus (JET) in the UK, which produced 67 per cent of the initial energy input. With ITER, the goal is to produce 10 times more energy than is fed. The first operational tests of the facility will start in 2025.
“The ITER project is the most complex scientific collaboration in history. It is a very big challenge. The components, produced for the first time, will be manufactured on three continents for almost 10 years. companies like General Atomics. Each component is backed by an excellent engineering team. Without this global involvement, ITER would not have been possible. But in the joint effort, each team will leverage its own investment by learning from the others, “he said. formerly Dr. Bernard Bigot, Director-General of the ITER Organization
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