The EUROfusion consortium, made up of an international group of scientists, has achieved a new record for nuclear fusion energy, the energy process that powers stars like the Sun. The team from the Joint European Torus (JET) laboratory, based in the UK United, it has reached 59 megajoules, which it has maintained for 5 seconds. With this new achievement, it has almost tripled the previous record of 21.7 megajoules set at these same facilities in 1997.
If nuclear fusion can be successfully recreated on Earth, it will offer a virtually unlimited supply of low-emission energy. Although the amount of energy produced in the experiment may seem small, the results serve to validate the design options. on which ITER is based, an even larger fusion reactor being built in Francewith which it is expected to continue advancing in this energy source.
Thus, the record and the scientific data from the experiment represent a great boost for this new reactor under construction, the largest and most advanced version of JET. ITER is a fusion research megaproject backed by China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United Stateswhose objective is to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy.
The biggest milestone in 25 years of research
As the EUROfusion researchers themselves indicate, the results of the experiment, announced this Wednesday, are the clearest demonstration in 25 years of the potential of fusion energy to provide safe and sustainable energy with low carbon dioxide emissions, main cause of global warming. In a context of mitigating the effects of climate change through energy decarbonisation, this milestone constitutes a fundamental step in the scientific-technological roadmap for nuclear fusion as a safe, efficient and low-emission means of dealing with the energy crisis world.
“The record, and more importantly, what we have learned about fusion under these conditions and how it fully confirms our predictions, show that we are on the right track towards a future world with fusion power,” said Director General of EUROfusion, Tony Donne. “If we can hold fusion for five seconds, we can hold it for five minutes and then for five hours as we expand our operations on future machines,” he added.
The JET laboratory is located in the English town of Oxford and is the largest magnetic confinement fusion facility currently in operation worldwide. EUROfusion, co-financed by the European Union, integrates 4,800 experts, students and technical staff from 28 countriesincluding Spain.
Fusion is the process that powers stars like the Sun, and promises a virtually unlimited green energy source in the long term, using small amounts of fuel that can be obtained worldwide from cheap materials. The process is based on atoms of light elements such as hydrogen, subjected to high temperatures to form helium and release a very high energy in the form of heat. In addition, it is very safe, since it cannot start an uncontrolled process in the event of an accident.