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A Step Closer to Fusion Energy

6 Dec 2018, 22:02 UTC
A Step Closer to Fusion Energy
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Harnessing nuclear fusion, which powers the sun and stars, to help meet earth's energy needs, is a step closer after researchers showed that using two types of imaging can help them assess the safety and reliability of parts used in a fusion energy device.Scientists from Swansea University, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, ITER in France, and the Max-Planck Institute of Plasma Physics in Germany paired x-ray and neutron imaging to test the robustness of parts.They found that both methods yield valuable data which can be used in developing components.The sun is a shining example of fusion in action. In the extremes of pressure and temperature at the center of the sun atoms travel fast enough to fuse together, releasing vast amounts of energy. For decades, scientists have been looking at how to harness this safe, carbon-free and virtually limitless source of energy.One major obstacle is the staggering temperatures that components in fusion devices have to withstand: up to 10 times the heat of the center of the sun.One of the main approaches to fusion, magnetic confinement, requires reactors which have some of the greatest temperature gradients on earth, and potentially in the universe: plasmas reaching highs of 150 million °C ...

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