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China National Nuclear Corp's Southwestern Institute of Physics says that the first piece of the enhanced heat flux first wall for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor has been produced, with its core indicators better than design requirements.

Date: Friday, 25 November 2022
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Problems will require in-depth examination and ‘time and budget’ to repair October 2022 file photo of the 30-metre-deep pit in the tokamak building being prepared for the Iter machine itself. Courtesy Iter. Defects have been identified in two key First-of-a-kind tokamak components for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) nuclear fusion plant under construction at Cadarache in southern France, with the €20bn project facing potential delays while repairs are carried out.

Iter said in a project update that the two components are the vacuum vessel thermal shields and the vacuum vessel sectors.

The issues “demand in-depth examination, creativity in devising corrective actions, and time and budget to repair”, Iter said.

The vacuum vessel thermal shields are actively cooled silver-plated elements, 20 mm thick that contribute to thermally insulating the plant’s superconducting magnet system operating at 4K, or minus 269C.

Date: Thursday, 24 November 2022
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The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project has announced defects have been discovered in the thermal shields and vacuum vessel sectors and warned that the consequences on schedule and cost "will not be insignificant".

Date: Wednesday, 23 November 2022
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Rosatom has said it is delivering a PF1 poloidal field coil to the ITER fusion reactor under construction in France. A ceremonial launching of a pontoon with a Russian PF1 poloidal field coil took place at the Srednevskiy shipbuilding plant in St Petersburg. The ceremony was attended by high-ranking representatives of the Government of the Russian Federation, Rosatom State Corporation, and the Administration of St Petersburg. 

Date: Saturday, 05 November 2022
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China’s "artificial sun", the HL-2M tokamak, has set a new operation record with its plasma current exceeding 1 million amperes (one megampere) “marking a major step toward fusion ignition”, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has announced. The tokamak, independently designed and built by CNNC’s Southwestern Institute of Physics (SWIP) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, was completed in November 2019 and achieved its first plasma discharge in December 2020.

Date: Wednesday, 02 November 2022
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Plant could offer ‘sustainable, carbon-free energy for generations’ GA said the plant could provide baseload energy without any harmful emissions or long-lived waste. Courtesy GA. US-based General Atomics has revealed a concept design for a nuclear fusion pilot plant featuring a steady-state, compact advanced tokamak capable of holding fusion plasma for extended periods of time and a liquid metal breeding blanket for generating tritium fuel.

The pilot facility would use the company’s proprietary fusion synthesis engine. The tokamak would use superconducting magnets to contain and shape the plasma with microwaves directed into the fuel to heat the plasma to over 100 million degrees Celsius. Silicon carbide would be used in the walls of the liquid metal breeding blanket that would breed tritium and carry heat away from the tokamak.

Fuelled primarily by isotopes of hydrogen found in seawater and capable of generating its own fuel during operation, the plant would provide baseload energy without any harmful emissions or long-lived waste, GA said. Capable of operating around the clock, commercialised fusion power plants would provide “sustainable, carbon-free firm energy for generations”.

“Excitement for fusion energy is at an all-time high, with historic interest from private industry and government,” said Anantha Krishnan, senior vice-president of the General Atomics Energy Group. “We look forward to working with our partners to make our vision for economic fusion energy a reality.”

Date: Thursday, 27 October 2022
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Physicists at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have proposed that the formation of "hills and valleys" in magnetic field lines could be the source of sudden collapses of heat ahead of disruptions that can damage doughnut-shaped tokamak fusion facilities. Their discovery could help overcome a critical challenge facing such facilities.

Date: Saturday, 01 October 2022
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California facility heralds first successful instance of ignition The team of scientists achieved a yield of more than 1.3 megajoules in a groundbreaking physics achievement. Courtesy NIF. Scientists have confirmed a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion involving the first successful instance of ignition, the point at which a nuclear fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining.

Analysis has confirmed that an experiment conducted in 2021 created a fusion reaction energetic enough to be self-sustaining, which brings fusion one step closer to being useful as a source of energy.

The fusion ignition took place on 8 August 2021 at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California, but NIF researchers have not been able to reproduce this landmark achievement since. They have spent the past year analysing the experimental conditions that led to their success 12 months ago.

Fusion ignition occurs when the energy being given off by the fusion reactions heats the fuel mass more rapidly than various loss mechanisms cool it. At this point, the external energy needed to heat the fuel to fusion temperatures is no longer needed.

Date: Thursday, 18 August 2022
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A consortium of nuclear fusion experts led by Atkins - a member of the SNC-Lavalin group - and Assystem, a specialist in energy transition, has been appointed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) as a service delivery partner for engineering for its Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme, which aims to demonstrate the commercial viability of generating energy using nuclear fusion.

Date: Wednesday, 17 August 2022
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A consortium led by Atkins as prime contractor, alongside Assystem, has been appointed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) as Engineering Delivery Partner (EDP) to its Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme.

Date: Friday, 12 August 2022
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