Nuclear fusion breakthroughDate: 14 February 2022 Tags: Energy
The JET laboratory in Britain has smashed the record in the amount of energy it can extract through nuclear fusion.
Nuclear fusion in a controlled environment has been a work in progress since many years and its commercial use has not yet been obtained.
The recent experiment managed to produce 59 MJ of energy over five seconds. This is more than double what was achieved in similar tests back in 1997.
The JET is collaboration between EU member states, Switzerland, the UK and Ukraine, founded in 1978.
Significance of results
The energy harvested is very less but it strengthens design choices that have been made for a bigger fusion reactor now being constructed in France.
The experiment demonstrated the greatest amount of energy output from the fusion reactions of any device in history.
It is a project carried out in France by a consortium of countries such as the US, EU, Britain, China and also India.
Nuclear fusion works on the principle that energy can be released by forcing together atomic nuclei.
This naturally happens on stars including the Sun, which give out energy through this process.
The fuel to produce the plasma will be a mix of two forms, or isotopes, of hydrogen called deuterium and tritium.
Importance of nuclear fusion
Successful harvesting could lead to potential of virtually unlimited supplies of low-carbon, low-radiation energy.
Fusion reaction will produce no greenhouse gases and only very small amounts of short-lived radioactive waste.
Theoretically, a small glass of deuterium and tritium could power a house for hundreds of years. The fuels are also easily obtained.
The biggest challenge is to sustain the process and prevent it from extinguishing. There is also a need to reduce energy consumption.