Fusion energy pushed back beyond 2050 – BBC News


It seems that using fusion energy will be promising looking “around the corner” technology for quite many years according to a new version of a European “road map”. The road map drawn up by scientists and engineers at EUROfusion lays out the technological hurdles to be overcome.

We will have to wait until the second half of the century for fusion reactors to start generating electricity, experts have announced.

The setback has been caused largely by delays to ITER.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:


    The [UK-based JET laboratory](https://ccfe.ukaea.uk/research/joint-european-torus/) has smashed its own world record for the amount of energy it can extract by squeezing together two forms of hydrogen.

    If nuclear fusion can be successfully recreated on Earth it holds out the potential of virtually unlimited supplies of low-carbon, low-radiation energy.

    The experiments produced 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds (11 megawatts of power).

    This is more than double what was achieved in similar tests back in 1997.

    It’s not a massive energy output – only enough to boil about 60 kettles’ worth of water. But the significance is that it validates design choices that have been made for an even bigger fusion reactor now being constructed in France.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The world’s first nuclear-powered fighter jet, Could fly for 15 years without landing
    This nuclear-powered aircraft was developed by Lockheed Martin in the United States. It uses the B52 as a carrier, has 68,000 horsepower, and can fly continuously without landing for 15 years.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Amazing Video Shows Inside Fusion Reactor During Record Breaking Test

    The UK-based Joint European Torus (JET) lab smashed its own 25-year-old record, producing 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds, roughly the equivalent of 30 pounds of TNT.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New nuclear fusion reactor design may be a breakthrough

    Using permanent magnets may help to make nuclear fusion reactors simpler and more affordable.

    The promise of nuclear fusion is tantalizing: By utilizing the same atomic process that powers our sun, we may someday be able to generate virtually unlimited amounts of clean energy.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The World’s Largest Tokamak Just Crushed the Record for Nuclear Fusion Energy
    England’s Joint European Torus (JET) produced 59 megajoules of energy for five seconds.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Can this scientist solve the world’s energy crisis?
    Nuclear fusion is the holy grail of clean energy — and this Oxford engineer is sitting on the brink of a breakthrough

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    UK makes ‘stunning’ nuclear fusion breakthrough in ‘world first’ step to limitless energy
    A BRITISH start-up has made a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion by using its own unique method to create the process which could one day harness limitless clean energy.

    Oxford-based company First Light Fusion (FLF) achieved the stunning reaction using a unique method at its laboratory in Kidlington. The projectile method is reportedly an easier and more efficient technique than other existing approaches to develop what has been referred to develop a fusion reaction. Usually, complex and expensive lasers or magnets are used to generate or maintain the conditions for fusion.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Scientists Shatter Record for the Amount of Energy Produced During a Controlled, Sustained Fusion Reaction

    Scientists at a laboratory in England have shattered the record for the amount of energy produced during a controlled, sustained fusion reaction. The production of 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds at the Joint European Torus – or JET – experiment in England has been called “a breakthrough” by some news outlets and caused quite a lot of excitement among physicists. But a common line regarding fusion electricity production is that it is “always 20 years away.”

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    This tiny fusion reactor is made out of commercially available parts

    Nuclear startup Avalanche Energy has modest funding, a skeleton crew, a pocket-sized prototype — and grand ambitions.

    For more than 70 years, governments, oil and gas companies, and entrepreneurs have dreamed of harvesting energy from the nuclear fusion reaction. But while nuclear fission plants have been providing electricity around the world since the 1950s, nuclear fusion has never come to fruition.

    Nevertheless, fusion has been having its moment of late.

    More than $4 billion in private capital has flowed into fusion research in the last few years.

    One of the beneficiaries of this bonanza, Avalanche Energy, is hoping to succeed where others have failed with a capital-efficient, downsized approach to generating electricity from fusion. The Seattle-based fusion energy startup plans to use an unconventional electrostatic technique to scale its modular fusion cell down to the size of a fire extinguisher.

    Getting small
    To achieve fusion, hydrogen must be converted into plasma, a transformation that requires million-degree temperatures, much hotter than even the core of the sun. In the medium of the plasma, negatively charged electrons separate from positively charged atomic nuclei

    The holy grail everyone is seeking is a process that creates more energy than is needed to power it, also called net energy or positive output.

    A lot of the fusion teams making a run at this most difficult of physics problems work on a grand scale that requires giant lasers or massive magnets made of exotic materials, not to mention sky-high stacks of cash and plenty of personnel. Magnetic confinement devices such as tokamaks require major real estate — Europe’s International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project takes up nearly 450 acres.

    In sharp contrast, Avalanche’s small-scale modular approach is more akin to Tesla’s electric-vehicle battery design, co-founder and CEO Robin Langtry told Canary Media in an interview. ​“It’s hundreds of little cells that we can mass-produce in a giga-fusion factory. You might need a few of them for a car, a dozen for a bus, maybe 100 for an airplane.”

    “Historically, a fusion experiment took years, if not decades, and billions of dollars to set up, but Avalanche can run real-world experiments a few times per week on single-digit millions” of dollars, according to Clay Dumas, general partner at Lowercarbon Capital and an investor in Avalanche.

    Instead of relying on massive superconducting magnets, Avalanche Energy’s prototype employs electrostatic fields to trap fusion ions, while also employing a magnetron electron confinement technique to reach higher ion densities. The resulting fusion reaction produces neutrons that can be transformed into heat.

    The magnetron used by the startup is a variation of a device ​“found in everyday microwave ovens” that enables the ​“densities and cross sections necessary for fusion,”

    Riordan told Canary, ​“This configuration didn’t have giant lasers and giant magnets, and its physics didn’t want to be in a form factor larger than a fire extinguisher. [It’s] the right form factor for scalability, rapid build, test, fix and iteration on tight development cycles. We wanted to do a small reactor because we thought that was the path to scale.”

    The goal is to ​“actually build one of these things,” Langtry says. The first step is funding a small team to build a tiny fusion reactor at a really fast pace. Avalanche anticipates that the proposed modular fusion cell, which will have a diameter of approximately 5 inches, will produce 5 to 15 kilowatts of power.

    The company emphasizes that its magnetron is a variation of an everyday device and that the electrostatic base technology is a derivative of a product available from ThermoFisher Scientific, which is widely deployed for use in commercial mass spectrometry. ​“We’re taking two devices that exist already, things you can buy commercially for various applications,” Langtry said. ​“We’re just putting them together in a new interesting way at much higher voltages” to build a ​“recirculating beam fusion” prototype.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A shortage of tritium fuel may leave fusion energy with an empty tank.

    A shortage of tritium fuel may leave fusion energy with an empty tank

    In 2020, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories delivered five steel drums, lined with cork to absorb shocks, to the Joint European Torus (JET), a large fusion reactor in the United Kingdom. Inside each drum was a steel cylinder the size of a Coke can, holding a wisp of hydrogen gas—just 10 grams of it, or the weight of a couple sheets of paper.

    This wasn’t ordinary hydrogen but its rare radioactive isotope tritium, in which two neutrons and a proton cling together in the nucleus. At $30,000 per gram, it’s almost as precious as a diamond, but for fusion researchers the price is worth paying.

    Last year, the Canadian tritium fueled an experiment at JET showing fusion research is approaching an important threshold: producing more energy than goes into the reactions. By getting to one-third of this breakeven point, JET offered reassurance that ITER, a similar reactor twice the size of JET under construction in France, will bust past breakeven when it begins deuterium and tritium (D-T) burns sometime next decade. “What we found matches predictions,” says Fernanda Rimini, JET’s plasma operations expert.

    But that achievement could be a Pyrrhic victory, fusion scientists are realizing. ITER is expected to consume most of the world’s tritium, leaving little for reactors that come after.

    Fusion advocates often boast that the fuel for their reactors will be cheap and plentiful. That is certainly true for deuterium: Roughly one in every 5000 hydrogen atoms in the oceans is deuterium, and it sells for about $13 per gram. But tritium, with a half-life of 12.3 years, exists naturally only in trace amounts in the upper atmosphere, the product of cosmic ray bombardment. Nuclear reactors also produce tiny amounts, but few harvest it.

    Most fusion scientists shrug off the problem, arguing that future reactors can breed the tritium they need. The high-energy neutrons released in fusion reactions can split lithium into helium and tritium if the reactor wall is lined with the metal. Despite demand for it in electric car batteries, lithium is relatively plentiful.

    But there’s a catch: In order to breed tritium you need a working fusion reactor, and there may not be enough tritium to jump-start the first generation of power plants. The world’s only commercial sources are the 19 Canada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) nuclear reactors, which each produce about 0.5 kilograms a year as a waste product, and half are due to retire this decade. The available tritium stockpile—thought to be about 25 kilograms today—will peak before the end of the decade and begin a steady decline as it is sold off and decays, according to projections in ITER’s 2018 research plan.

    ITER’s first experiments will use hydrogen and deuterium and produce no net energy. But once it begins energy-producing D-T shots, Alberto Loarte, head of ITER’s science division, expects the reactor to eat up to 1 kilogram of tritium annually. “It will consume a significant amount of what is available,” he says. Fusion scientists wishing to fire up reactors after that may find that ITER already drank their milkshake.

    Scarce tritium is not the only challenge fusion faces; the field must also learn to deal with fitful operations, turbulent bursts of plasma, and neutron damage

    tritium issue looms large. It could be fatal for the entire enterprise, he says. “This makes deuterium-tritium fusion reactors impossible.”

    “The luckiest thing to happen for fusion in the world is that CANDU reactors produce tritium as a byproduct,”

    operators send their heavy water to the utility company Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to be “detritiated.” OPG filters out the tritium and sells off about 100 grams of it a year, mostly as a medical radioisotope and for glow-in-the-dark watch dials and emergency signage. “It’s a really nice waste-to-product story,”

    But the supply will decline as the CANDUs, many of them 50 years old or more, are retired. Researchers realized more than 20 years ago that fusion’s “tritium window” would eventually slam shut, and things have only got worse since then.

    ITER won’t burn D-T until 2035 at the earliest, when the tritium supply will have shriveled.

    Once ITER finishes work in the 2050s, 5 kilograms or less of tritium will remain, according to the ITER projections.

    Researchers expect ITER to burn less than 1% of the injected tritium; the rest will diffuse out to the edge of the tokamak and be swept into a recycling system, which removes helium and other impurities from the exhaust gas, leaving a mix of D-T.

    Throughout the decades of fusion research, plasma physicists have been single-minded about reaching the breakeven point and producing excess energy. They viewed other issues, such as acquiring enough tritium, just “trivial” engineering, Jassby says. But as reactors approach breakeven, nuclear engineers like Abdou say it’s time to start to worry about engineering details that are far from trivial. “Leaving [them] until later would be hugely mistaken.”

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Suuri edistysaskel fuusioenergiassa

    Kalifornialainen National Ignition Facility -tutkimuslaitos on sivuuttanut tärkeän merkkipaalun: fuusioreaktori tuottaa yhtä paljon energiaa kuin fuusion käynnistävät laserit kuluttavat.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nuclear Fusion 3.0: Real World Electricity is Coming

    •Organizations all across the world are racing to achieve a fusion power breakthrough. Many critics say nuclear fusion is impossible, but Helion Energy believes they’ve cracked the code…

    If you could design the perfect energy source, it would have an inexhaustible supply of fuel, be environmentally friendly, not take up much space, and have a high degree of safety.

    The fuels considered for fusion power have traditionally all been isotopes of hydrogen, but there are better fusion reactions using elements like helium-3.

    What is nuclear fusion? Nuclear fusion explained: an experimental form of power generation that harnesses the energy released when two atoms combine.

    How does nuclear fusion work? Every atom is composed of a nucleus and one or more electrons. The nucleus is made up of protons, and neutrons. A fusion reactor heats fusion fuels into plasma and fuses light elements into heavier elements.

    What about nuclear fusion in the sun? In the core of the sun, gravity produces high pressures, compressing elements to high densities and temperatures. Perfectly extreme conditions for hydrogen to fuse into helium.

    There are three key groups of fusion approaches, Magnetic fusion (ITER, Tokamak, Stellarator) Inertial confinement fusion (National Ignition Facility, Indirect drive, direct drive, lasers) and Magneto inertial fusion (Helion).

    For fusion power to make commercial electricity for the power grid you need to achieve breakeven, and then net electricity gain to create a viable fusion power plant. The triple product is the key figure of merit for fusion.

    Some critical components of a fusion generator are electromagnets, capacitors, first wall, and the divertor.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    China Discovers New Moon Mineral That Could One Day Power Fusion Reactors
    The material could help bypass the difficult task of finding helium-3 on Earth

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Delving for Joules in the Fusion Mines The Joint European Torus, a precursor to ITER, Blasts Toward a Fusion Future

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Scientists have made a magnetic field discovery that could help make fusion reactors a practical reality.

    Fusion power is ‘approaching’ reality thanks to a magnetic field breakthrough

    A boost from magnetism is nearly enough to achieve fusion ignition.

    Fusion power may be a more realistic prospect than you think. As Motherboard reports, researchers at the Energy Department’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered that a new magnetic field setup more than tripled the energy output of the fusion reaction hotspot in experiments, “approaching” the level required for self-sustaining ignition in plasmas. The field was particularly effective at trapping heat within the hotspot, boosting the energy yield.

    The hotspot’s creation involved blasting 200 lasers at a fusion fuel pellet made from hydrogen isotopes like deuterium and tritium. The resulting X-rays made the pellet implode and thus produce the extremely high pressures and heat needed for fusion. The team achieved their feat by wrapping a coil around a pellet made using special metals.

    The notion of using magnets to heat the fuel isn’t new.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fusion power is ‘approaching’ reality thanks to a magnetic field breakthrough
    A boost from magnetism is nearly enough to achieve fusion ignition.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Suora lähetys: Tehtiinkö fuusio­energian tuotannossa läpi­murto?

    Yhdysvaltain energiaministeriön on määrä julkistaa “merkittävä tieteellinen läpimurto”. Financial Timesin mukaan Kaliforniassa fuusioreaktiossa on tuotettu enemmän energiaa kuin sen käynnistämiseen ja ylläpitoon kului.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tutkijat saavuttivat historiallisen läpimurron fuusioenergiassa

    Yhdysvaltain Kaliforniassa tutkijat ovat saavuttaneet innolla odotetun läpimurron fuusioenergian tuotannossa.

    Ensimmäistä kertaa ikinä fuusioreaktiossa saatiin tuotettua enemmän energiaa, kuin mitä sen käynnistämiseen ja ylläpitoon vaadittiin. Tätä nettopositiivisen tuotannon merkkipaalua on alalla tavoiteltu vuosikymmenten ajan.

    Suuri läpimurto – fuusioreaktiossa tuotettiin ensi kertaa enemmän energiaa kuin reaktion käynnistys vaati

    Yhdysvaltain Kaliforniassa tutkijat ovat saavuttaneet innolla odotetun läpimurron fuusioenergian tuotannossa.

    Tuotti noin viidenneksen enemmän kuin kulutti
    Lehden mukaan onnistuneessa reaktiossa tuotettiin energiaa noin 2,5 megajoulea, kun reaktion käynnistykseen kulutettiin 2,1. Energiaa olisi näin ollen tuotettu noin viidennes enemmän kuin sitä kului.

    Energiaministeriö ei ole vahvistanut FT:n tietoja. Washington Postin lähteet ovat vahvistaneet reaktion.

    Kalifornialaisessa laboratoriossa käytetään valtavia lasereita, joiden säteet keskitetään yhteen pisteeseen, jossa polttoaine sijaitsee.

    Onnistuneesta koekäytöstä on vielä pitkä matka siihen, että fuusiovoimaloita voitaisiin kytkeä sähköverkkoon. Monien tutkijoiden mukaan tämä tavoite on yhä vuosikymmenten päässä, mutta kalifornialaislaboratorion koe voi olla lähihistorian suurin yksittäinen askel sitä kohti.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Pääkirjoitus: Fuusioon kohdistuu suuria odotuksia, mutta energian­tuotannon vallan­kumous antaa vielä odottaa itseään https://www.is.fi/paakirjoitus/art-2000009272096.html

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    U.S. Scientists to Announce Fusion Energy Breakthrough

    Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory may have achieved a remarkable new high point for fusion reactions, generating more energy than was pumped in during a recent experiment, according to a report by the Financial Times.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Laser Fusion Ignition: Putting Nuclear Fusion Breakthroughs Into Perspective

    This month the media was abuzz with the announcement that the US National Ignition Facility (NIF) had accomplished a significant breakthrough in the quest to achieve commercial nuclear fusion. Specifically, the announcement was that a net fusion energy gain (Q) had been measured of about 1.5: for an input of 2.05 MJ, 3.15 MJ was produced.

    What was remarkable about this event compared to last year’s 1.3 MJ production is that it demonstrates an optimized firing routine for the NIF’s lasers, and that changes to how the Hohlraum – containing the deuterium-tritium (D-T) fuel – is targeted result in more effective compression. Within this Hohlraum, X-rays are produced that serve to compress the fuel. With enough pressure, the Coulomb barrier that generally keeps nuclei from getting near each other can be overcome, and that’s fusion.

    Fusion “Breakthrough” Won’t Lead to Practical Fusion Energy
    Just one more step on the long road to commercialization

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “A true fusion power station is unlikely to be running before my grandchildren turn 70.”

    Gloomy Physicists Say Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough Is Too Late to Save Us
    “A true fusion power station is unlikely to be running before my grandchildren turn 70.”

    Earlier this month, researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory claimed to have achieved a world’s first: generating more energy with a fusion reaction than they put into it.

    The feat has long been called the “holy grail” of fusion power, and a potentially significant waypoint on the road to generating practical electricity in fusion power plants.

    But as experts argue in a number of new letters published by The Guardian, the breakthrough may be too little, too late. Worse yet, the kind of technology developed by the Livermore lab could pave the way for the production of even deadlier nuclear weapons.

    In simple terms, argued environmentalist and renewable energy specialist Mark Diesendorf from the University of New South Wales in Australia, we’re too far out from feasible fusion power production, running the risk that the tech could be a superfluous red herring.

    Nuclear fusion ‘holy grail’ is not the answer to our energy prayers

    You report on the alleged “breakthrough” on nuclear fusion, in which US researchers claim that break-even has been achieved (Breakthrough in nuclear fusion could mean ‘near-limitless energy’, 12 December). To go from break-even, where energy output is greater than total energy input, to a commercial nuclear fusion reactor could take at least 25 years. By then, the whole world could be powered by safe and clean renewable energy, primarily solar and wind.

    The claim by the researchers that nuclear fusion is safe and clean is incorrect. Laser fusion, particularly as a component of a fission-fusion hybrid reactor, can produce neutrons that can be used to produce the nuclear explosives plutonium-239, uranium-235 and uranium-233. It could also produce tritium, a form of heavy hydrogen, which is used to boost the explosive power of a fission explosion, making fission bombs smaller and hence more suitable for use in missile warheads. This information is available in open research literature.

    The US National Ignition Facility, which did the research, is part of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which has a history of involvement with nuclear weaponry.
    Dr Mark Diesendorf
    University of New South Wales

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Forget Fusion: We have Thorium for Unlimited Energy

    The father of the hydrogen bomb said thorium was the nuclear fuel of the future; yet it was abandoned for the uranium nuclear power plants we see today. Did we make a mistake by ignoring a cleaner, potentially unlimited source of nuclear energy with thorium? Or were its challenges too difficult to overcome? Several companies are betting big on thorium coming to take uranium’s crown in nuclear power.

    00:00 Intro
    00:21 What is Thorium
    02:05 What went Wrong
    04:51 Thorium Resurgence
    08:04 Thorium Pros
    09:18 Thorium Cons
    10:19 Conclusion

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fuusioenergian tuotannossa tehtiin läpimurto – Yhdysvaltalainen yhtiö testasi pb11-fuusiota stellaraattori-reaktorissa
    Lotta Jalli1.3.202313:12|päivitetty1.3.202313:12ENERGIAYDINVOIMATIEDE
    Kaupallista fuusioteknologiaa kehittävä TAE Technologies testasi vety-boorifuusiota magneettisen koossapidon reaktorissa.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Läpimurto fuusioenergian tuotannossa – Tällainen on monimutkainen stellaraattori-reaktori

    Kaupallista fuusioteknologiaa kehittävä TAE Technologies testasi vety-boorifuusiota magneettisen koossapidon reaktorissa.

    Yhdysvaltalainen kapallista fuusioteknologiaa kehittävä TAE Technologies on onnistunut toteuttamaan ensimmäiset vety-boorifuusiokokeet magneettisen koossapidon fuusioreaktorissa. Mittaustuloksista kerrotaan uudessa tutkimuksessa, joka julkaistiin arvostetussa Nature Communications -tiedelehdessä.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hyvästit ydinkatastrofeille! Fuusiosähköä voidaan saada verkkoon 2030-luvulla, mutta ensin on ratkaistava monta ongelmaa

    Ilmasto- ja energiakriisi ovat saaneet maailman suurmahdit kehittämään fuusioteknologiaa. Suomalaistutkijat selvittävät muun muassa, miten fuusioreaktoreiden turbulenssia voisi vähentää ja mitä materiaaleja reaktoreissa olisi fiksuinta käyttää.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Onko ikuinen lupaus muuttumassa todeksi? – Fuusioreaktori ei tuota korkea-aktiivista jätettä eikä aiheuta evakuointia vaativia onnettomuuksia

    Fuusioenergian murros luo suomalaisille yrityksille jo nyt vientimahdollisuuksia. Lupaava puhtaan energian tuotantotapa on suuren kansainvälisen kiinnostuksen kohteena.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kiinan ”keinotekoinen aurinko” rikkoi maailmanennätyksen: Fuusioreaktori onnistui 403 sekunnin ajan pitämään stabiilissa tilassa olevaa plasmaa koossa

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mistä sähkö tulee töpseliin parinkymmenen vuoden kuluttua? Miten talo lämpenee ja millä auto kulkee? Aurinko- ja tuulivoiman osuus maailman energiantuotannosta kasvaa, mutta likainen kivihiili pitää sekin pintansa. Laaja tiedejuttu kertoo, mitkä ovat eri energiamuotojen mahdollisuudet – ja heikkoudet


  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Helion Energy will provide Microsoft with fusion power starting in 2028


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