Fusion energy breakthrough

Authors


Abstract

The physics of harnessing nuclear fusion as a heat source is not well known. No such power generator has been made yet and significant breakthroughs will be necessary before the concept is proven. All such advances in energy research are followed with keen interest by geophysicists. One such breakthrough was made recently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in experiments with a model Tokamak fusion reactor.

The MIT experimental high-field nuclear fusion reactor with the name of Alcator-C experienced a large technological advance when its operating parameters exceeded the socalled “Lawson criterion,” one of the minimum requirements of a successful nuclear fusion power generator. The nuclear fusion of hydrogen to form helium releases heat, but to make such a process workable for a power plant, there must be a sizable efficiency in the ratio of energy input to bring about the reaction to the thermal energy released by the reaction, and even this advance falls far short of the breakeven point. The advance is, however, a great step in the learning curve about fusion magnetohydrodynamic plasma systems.