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Fusion reactor

Fusion reactor

Nuclear fusion will serve as an environmentally friendly and practically unlimited source of energy.

Technology

Keywords

fusion reactor, ITER, nuclear fusion, nuclear reactor, nuclear energy, deuterium, tritium, reactor chamber, plasma, generator, transformer, turbines, cooling tower, electricity generation, control center, France, energy, environmentally friendly, energy source, particle physics, history of science, invention, technology, physics, chemistry

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Scenes

  • - This building houses the fusion reactor. It is a TOKAMAK-type reactor, in which a ring of plasma is floated in a toroidal shape electromagnet. Fusion takes place in this plasma, at a temperature of 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F).
  • control center

  • - Together with the toroidal and poloidal coils its function is to produce a magnetic field. The plasma in which the nuclear fusion takes place is floated in this field. It is necessary to float the plasma; otherwise, it would melt everything due to its temperature of about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F).
  • - Since the plasma in which the nuclear fusion takes place is about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F) hot, thermal insulation is necessary.
  • - This is where the burning plasma where nuclear fusion takes place at 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F) is produced.
  • - Together with the central solenoid and the poloidal coil its function is to produce a magnetic field. The plasma in which the nuclear fusion takes place is floated in this field. It is necessary to float the plasma; otherwise, it would melt everything due to its temperature of about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F).
  • - Together with the central solenoid and the toroidal coil its function is to produce a magnetic field. The plasma in which the nuclear fusion takes place is floated in this field. It is necessary to float the plasma; otherwise, it would melt everything due to its temperature of about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F).
  • - Ionized gas in which nuclear fusion takes place when the conditions are appropriate. In the reactor it is about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F) hot. This high temperature is necessary because of the high activation energy of the nuclear fusion. This state of matter is heated by microwave radiation and electricity. When the nuclear fusion starts, it will become self-sustaining due to the released energy, there will be no need for an external energy supply.

  • - The plasma in the reactor is about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F) hot. This high temperature is necessary because of the high activation energy of the nuclear fusion. The plasma is heated by microwave radiation and electricity. When the nuclear fusion starts, the plasma will become self-sustaining due to the released energy, there will be no need for an external energy supply.
  • - Plasma with a temperature of a hundred million °C (180,000,000 °F) can only be stored in a floating state. This is ensured by electromagnets.
  • - Ionized gas in which nuclear fusion takes place when the conditions are appropriate. In the reactor it is about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F) hot. This high temperature is necessary because of the high activation energy of the nuclear fusion. This state of matter is heated by microwave radiation and electricity. When the nuclear fusion starts, it will become self-sustaining due to the released energy, there will be no need for an external energy supply.
  • - Water is boiled by the heat released during fusion and the resulting vapor is used to produce electric current.
  • - It is boiled by the heat released during fusion and the resulting vapor is used to produce electric current.

During nuclear fusion, two nuclei fuse while releasing energy. The fusion of deuterium and tritium (hydrogen isotopes) nuclei is best suited to produce fusion energy. Deuterium and tritium are available in basically unlimited amounts.

Deuterium consists of a proton and a neutron, while tritium contains a proton and two neutrons. During the reaction deuterium and tritium nuclei collide, producing one helium nucleus and one neutron and releasing energy. The reason for this is that the total mass of the helium nucleus and neutron produced in the reaction is less than the total mass of the original deuterium and tritium nuclei. According to Einstein's E=mc² equation, a decrease of mass results in energy release.
E: released energy,
m: radiated mass,
c: speed of light (300,000 km/s or 186,280 mi/s)

The activation energy of the nuclear fusion reaction is extremely high, because the protons in each nucleus will strongly repel one another, as they each have the same positive charge. When nuclear fusion takes place in stars, the reaction takes place at an extremely high temperature and under enormous pressure. In a Tokamak reactor, the pressure is much lower than that; the temperature, however, is even higher than it is in the stars: 10 times the core temperature of the Sun.

  • - Together with the toroidal and poloidal coils its function is to produce a magnetic field. The plasma in which the nuclear fusion takes place is floated in this field. It is necessary to float the plasma; otherwise, it would melt everything due to its temperature of about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F).
  • - Since the plasma in which the nuclear fusion takes place is about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F) hot, thermal insulation is necessary.
  • - This is where the burning plasma where nuclear fusion takes place at 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F) is produced.
  • - Together with the central solenoid and the poloidal coil its function is to produce a magnetic field. The plasma in which the nuclear fusion takes place is floated in this field. It is necessary to float the plasma; otherwise, it would melt everything due to its temperature of about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F).
  • - Together with the central solenoid and the toroidal coil its function is to produce a magnetic field. The plasma in which the nuclear fusion takes place is floated in this field. It is necessary to float the plasma; otherwise, it would melt everything due to its temperature of about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F).
  • - Ionized gas in which nuclear fusion takes place when the conditions are appropriate. In the reactor it is about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F) hot. This high temperature is necessary because of the high activation energy of the nuclear fusion. This state of matter is heated by microwave radiation and electricity. When the nuclear fusion starts, it will become self-sustaining due to the released energy, there will be no need for an external energy supply.
  • - The plasma in the reactor is about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F) hot. This high temperature is necessary because of the high activation energy of the nuclear fusion. The plasma is heated by microwave radiation and electricity. When the nuclear fusion starts, the plasma will become self-sustaining due to the released energy, there will be no need for an external energy supply.
  • - Plasma with a temperature of a hundred million °C (180,000,000 °F) can only be stored in a floating state. This is ensured by electromagnets.
  • - Ionized gas in which nuclear fusion takes place when the conditions are appropriate. In the reactor it is about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F) hot. This high temperature is necessary because of the high activation energy of the nuclear fusion. This state of matter is heated by microwave radiation and electricity. When the nuclear fusion starts, it will become self-sustaining due to the released energy, there will be no need for an external energy supply.
  • - Water is boiled by the heat released during fusion and the resulting vapor is used to produce electric current.
  • - It is boiled by the heat released during fusion and the resulting vapor is used to produce electric current.

Narration

During nuclear fusion, two nuclei fuse while releasing energy. The fusion of deuterium and tritium nuclei is best suited to produce fusion energy.
Deuterium consists of a proton and a neutron, while tritium contains a proton and two neutrons. During the reaction, deuterium and tritium nuclei collide, producing one helium nucleus and one neutron and releasing energy.

As the positively charged protons from the nuclei repel each other, high activation energy is necessary for the atoms to achieve sufficient proximity to each other and start fusing. When the reaction takes place, more energy is released than invested, the reaction is exothermic.

When nuclear fusion takes place in stars, the activation energy is provided by the enormous pressure and energy of gravity.

The devastating force of the hydrogen bomb is also caused by nuclear fusion. The energy necessary for the fusion in a hydrogen bomb is provided by the explosion of a nuclear bomb.

A peaceful use of fusion energy has not yet been developed. Several reactors have been built but their operation is not economical: it requires more energy than it releases. However, the technology offers great promise: deuterium and tritium are available in basically unlimited amounts, the operation is environmentally friendly as the end product is helium; there is no radioactive radiation and a huge amount of energy can be obtained from a small amount of fuel.

A large international project currently underway will probably result in a breakthrough in developing nuclear fusion. The construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor or ITER began in 2006 in Southern France.

The reaction itself takes place in deuterium-tritium plasma, that is, ionized gas consisting of electrons released by the atoms, and of deuterium and tritium nuclei. The activation energy is provided by heating the plasma to a temperature of about 100 million °C (180,000,000 °F). At this temperature the wall of the reactor would melt, therefore the plasma is kept in motion in a ring-shaped magnetic field. The magnetic field is produced by a toroidal electromagnet. This type of fusion reactor is called a Tokamak reactor. The plasma in the Tokamak is heated by electricity and microwaves. The fusion reaction starts at an extremely high temperature.

The construction of the ITER reactor is expected to be completed by 2018.
It has been designed to produce 500 megawatts of output power for 50 megawatts of input power for up to 400 seconds. The ITER has been designed for developing and testing the necessary technologies for energy production, not for industrial energy production itself. Another reactor, the 2,000-megawatt DEMO, has been proposed for continuous energy production.

The 7 participants in the ITER project are the EU, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, India, China and Russia. The full cost of the project is about 16 billion Euros, half of which is paid by the EU. This international collaboration will hopefully result in an environmentally friendly and safe technology for continuously satisfying increasing energy demands.

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