Inspenet, November 11, 2023.
Last week, Japan commissioned its new JT-60SA reactor, which is the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor .
Sam Davis, the project manager for Fusion for Energy, a European Union (EU) organization working in collaboration with Japan’s National Institutes of Quantum Science and Technology (QST), said this milestone “confirms that the machine is fulfilling its basic function.” However, Hiroshi Shirai, project director at QST, noted that it will take two more years before the new reactor is ready to carry out significant physics experiments.
The JT-60SA is the result of an agreement between the EU and Japan, which was established as part of the agreement for ITER to be based in France. This reactor has a height of 15.5 meters, half the size of ITER, and can contain a plasma volume of 135 m 3 , which is equivalent to the space of a train tank car.
In contrast to some fusion systems, the Japanese reactor will use hydrogen and its isotope deuterium, dispensing with the use of tritium, which is an expensive, scarce and radioactive form of hydrogen .
Importantly, experiments with the plasma on the JT-60SA will give scientists the opportunity to examine how it affects its stability and ability to generate power. According to Alberto Loarte, who heads the scientific division of ITER, this knowledge will be applied to the immense nuclear fusion reactor located in France.
The ambitious ITER reactor project has experienced significant cost overruns running into billions of euros compared to its initial budget and has faced decades of delay.
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