The world’s most powerful magnet is being shipped to France for installation in the core of ITER, the experimental fusion reactor. It is hoped that ITER will prove the feasibility of creating fusion energy on an industrial scale by replicating the process seen in the centre of our sun. The magnet, known as the central solenoid, is being shipped in parts and will be 18 metres tall, 4.2 metres wide and weigh around 1000 tonnes once fully constructed. With a magnetic field strength of 13 tesla, it will be about 280,000 times stronger than Earth’s own magnetic field. Because of this, the structure that the central solenoid sits in will have to withstand forces equal to twice the thrust of a space shuttle lift-off.
New Scientist 15th June 2021 read more »
A company backed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is set to build a large-scale nuclear fusion demonstration plant in Oxfordshire. Canada’s General Fusion is one of the leading private firms aiming to turn the promise of fusion into a commercially viable energy source. The new facility will be built at Culham, home to the UK’s national fusion research programme. It won’t generate power, but will be 70% the size of a commercial reactor. General Fusion will enter into a long-term commercial lease with the UK Atomic Energy Authority following the construction of the facility at the Culham campus. While commercial details have not been disclosed, the development is said to cost around $400m. It aims to be operational by 2025.
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It may turn out to be one of the most consequential road trips of all time. This week, key components for one of the world’s most powerful magnets, so strong it can lift an aircraft carrier 2 metres off the ground, were strapped onto a 24-axle truck in California. The gear is eventually bound for France, where a 35-nation international coalition called ITER is hoping to pioneer nuclear fusion-generated power on the largest scale ever, a key step in the development of an abundant and zero-emissions energy source.
Independent 16th June 2021 read more »