FUSION : Science & Industry : PLASMA
Updated: Aug 15, 2022
"IFERC : International Fusion Energy Research Centre (EU & JAPAN) : IFERC stands for the International Fusion Energy Research Centre. IFERC is one of the three projects executed by EU and Japan under the Broader Approach Agreement (see Governance). The IFERC Project supports the other joint fusion projects (ITER, IFMIF/EVEDA, JT60-SA) and contributes to the development of the next generation of fusion devices after ITER, such as DEMO.
FUSION without CONFUSION : THE INERTIAL CONFINEMENT FUSION : Inertial confinement fusion is just one method scientists have used to get reactions going. Other methods involve creating plasma—an electrically charged gas—and using magnets to circulate it around tokamaks:
On Earth, scientists achieve fusion by recreating the sun's heat in a lab. However, these reactions need to be very carefully controlled. If not, fusion won't occur and the hot conditions could damage the reactor. One method scientists have used to achieve fusion in the lab is by focusing lasers on a small capsule of fuel to compress it into a tiny point, creating temperatures similar to those seen in the core of the sun. This method is known as inertial confinement fusion. Previously, scientists had contained this reaction in a gold case, with the lasers hitting the container itself rather than the fuel inside. Now, researchers at the University of Delaware and other institutions have developed a method in which the lasers hit the fuel directly, and the reaction is contained by strong magnets instead. These magnets create magnetic field strengths of 50 Tesla. By comparison, MRI machines used in medical scans—which are strong enough to pull metal objects across the room—create strengths of above 3 Tesla. It's far from the first time that magnets have been used to steer nuclear reactions. Scientists have used magnets to run nuclear fusion reactors called tokamaks for decades, though these have yet to overcome the hurdle of providing more power than they consume. Still, the use of magnets in inertial confinement fusion is an interesting twist."