JT-60SA is a superconducting tokamak. A tokamak, on the other hand, is a donut-shaped thermonuclear reactor with a hole in it. In this shaped chamber scientists try to maintain the plasma in dizzying conditions reminiscent of the interior of a star, so that, in the process of controlled fusion, they can steadily generate more energy than is needed to achieve it. The net energy generated by such a reactor would be completely clean, and the fusion process could provide an inexhaustible source of energy for all of humanity.
Newly built and The tokamak was launched today In Japan it was built with support from the European Union. Although it is currently the largest such device in the world, it is only a precursor to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in France. It is scheduled to be completed and operational within a few years.
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Until now, scientists have only been able to obtain small amounts of clean energy through the fusion process. In this case, a configuration called inertial-limited tuning was used, which is slightly different from the tokamak itself. The problem is that to create the conditions inside a tokamak’s star, huge amounts of energy must be supplied to the system. For the entire project to make sense, the fusion process must reach a state where the system generates more energy than was put into it. There is the additional problem of maintaining these amazing conditions inside the tokamak for a long time.
The new tokamak will be able to heat plasma controlled by a strong magnetic field to a temperature of 200 million degrees Celsius. This plasma will generate a current of one million amps. For comparison, in an average household we are dealing with values of 15-20 amps.
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Scientists are currently focusing on scaling up this technology. So it is not surprising that ITER is larger than JT-60SA. Optimistic assumptions suggest that ITER will first reach the stage of burning plasma, and by 2035 it will reach the level of nuclear fusion. However, scientists will continually decide what the next steps on the path to an energy revolution will look like, by analyzing data from the newly opened tokamak.
It is worth noting here that ITER is a truly global endeavour. Thirty-five countries from around the world are participating in building a fusion reactor. These include, among others: Switzerland, Great Britain, India, Japan, Russia, China, the United States and the entire European Union. Fusion for Energy (F4E) is responsible for the EU contribution to ITER.
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