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Challenge #20

Developing a new primary energy source.

Energy from nuclear fusion: In the Helmholtz Fusion Program, we aim to generate energy-producing fusion plasma for the first time at the large multinational fusion facility ITER.

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With the experimental reactor ITER (“the way” in Latin), fusion research will soon give a demonstration of energy-producing plasma. The plant is currently being built in Cadarache in the south of France in a global cooperation involving China, Europe, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the USA. The goal: To generate energy through nuclear fusion. The European JET, or the Joint European Torus in Great Britain, proved that this is possible. More than half of the input power for heating the plasma was recovered by JET through fusion. However, the JET plasma is too small for a net gain. To achieve this, we turn to ITER plasma, a “tokamak” type facility like JET that is expected to generate 500 megawatts of fusion power, or ten times what is needed is heat the plasma. Many basic principles developed in the Helmholtz Fusion Program have already been incorporated into the plans, and Helmholtz researchers will continue to be involved in future ITER experiments.

(Header: ITER Organisation/EJF Riche)

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