March 1, 2024

JET sets world fusion energy record

Interior of the Joint European Torus (JET) experimental tokamak fusion machine with a photo of the plasma superimposed. Credit: UK Atomic Energy Authority, courtesy of EUROfusion

The Joint European Torus (JET), one of the largest and most powerful fusion machines in the world, has proven its ability to produce fusion energy consistently and has also set a new world record for energy production.

These remarkable achievements represent a significant milestone in the field of fusion science and engineering.

In JET’s final deuterium-tritium (DTE3) experiments, high fusion power was produced consistently for 5 seconds, resulting in a groundbreaking 69 megajoules using just 0.2 milligrams of fuel.

JET is a tokamak, a design that uses powerful magnetic fields to confine a

Video inside the Joint European Torus tokamak of October 3, 2023 pulse #104522, which set a new fusion energy record of 69 megajoules. Credit: UK Atomic Energy Authority, courtesy of EUROfusion

Emmanuel Joffrin, CEA EUROfusion Tokamak Exploration Task Force Leader, said: “Not only have we demonstrated how to soften the intense heat flowing from the plasma into the exhaust, but we have also shown at JET how we can transform the edge of the plasma into a state stable, thus avoiding energy explosions that hit the wall. Both techniques aim to protect the integrity of the walls of future machines. This is the first time we have been able to test these scenarios in a deuterium-tritium environment.”

Global Collaboration and Legacy

More than 300 scientists and engineers from EUROfusion – a consortium of researchers from across Europe, contributed to these landmark experiments at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) site in Oxford, demonstrating the unparalleled dedication and effectiveness of the international team. from JET.

The results solidify JET’s critical role in advancing safe, low-carbon and sustainable fusion energy.

Looking inside the European Torus Tokamak Set at Pulse #104522

Looking inside the Joint European Torus tokamak on wrist #104522 of October 3, 2023, which set a new fusion energy record of 69 megajoules. Credit: UK Atomic Energy Authority, courtesy of EUROfusion

UK Nuclear and Networks Minister Andrew Bowie said: “JET’s final fusion experiment is a fitting swan song after all the ground-breaking work carried out on the project since 1983. We are closer to fusion energy than ever before. ever, thanks to the international team of scientists and engineers in Oxfordshire. The work doesn’t stop here. Our Fusion Futures program has committed £650 million to invest in research and facilities, cementing the UK’s position as a global fusion hub.”

JET concluded its science operations at the end of December 2023.

Professor Sir Ian Chapman, CEO of UKAEA, said: “The JET operated as close to engine conditions as possible with current installations, and its legacy will be widespread in all future engines. It plays a fundamental role in bringing us closer to a safe and sustainable future.”

JET’s role in advancing fusion energy

The JET research results have critical implications not only for ITER – a fusion research megaproject being built in southern France – but also for the UK’s STEP fusion engine prototype, the demonstration engine of the Europe, DEMO, and other global fusion projects, aiming for a secure, low-carbon and sustainable energy future.

Pietro Barabaschi, Director General of ITER, said: “Throughout its life cycle, JET has been extremely useful as a precursor to ITER: in testing new materials, in developing new innovative components, and in nothing more than in generating scientific data on deuterium-tritium fusion. The results obtained here will have a direct and positive impact on ITER, validating the way forward and allowing us to progress more quickly towards our performance objectives. On a personal note, it was a great privilege to be at JET a few years ago. There I had the opportunity to learn from many exceptional people.

JET has been instrumental in advancing fusion energy for more than four decades, symbolizing international scientific collaboration, engineering excellence and a commitment to harnessing the power of fusion energy – the same reactions that power the Sun and stars.

JET demonstrated sustained fusion for five seconds at high power and set a world record in 2021. JET’s first deuterium-tritium experiments took place in 1997.

As it transitions into the next phase of its reuse and dismantling lifecycle, a celebration in late February 2024 will honor its founding vision and the collaborative spirit that has driven its success.

JET’s achievements, from major scientific milestones to setting energy records, underscore the facility’s enduring legacy in the evolution of fusion technology.

His contributions to fusion science and engineering have played a crucial role in accelerating the development of fusion energy, which promises to be a safe, low-carbon and sustainable part of the world’s future energy supply.

The research was funded by the Euratom Research and Training Programme.

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