2021-06-18

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Britain brought the era of affordable thermonuclear synthesis with the launch of the updated spherical tokamak MAST

2 min read

According to BBC, today the upgraded spherical tokamak MAST UPGRADE (MEGA AMPERE SPHERICAL TOKAMAK) has resumed its work – plasma retaining installations for a controlled thermonuclear reaction. The small size of the tokamak with a chamber with a diameter of about 4 meters was obtained a significantly improved plasma cooling system before it is discharged from the working space, which promises to bring the appearance of small and economical thermonuclear reactors.

MAST UPGRADE Tokamak Device. Image source: dailymail.co.uk

Tokamak MAST UPGRADE began to build in a conversion in 1997 and launched a job in December 1999. Spherical tokamaks, such as MAST Upgrade, hold plasma with a significantly lower induction of the magnetic field than it occurs in conventional tokamas and rallarators, which leads to significant savings to maintain the workflow. However, the problem with MAST UPGRADE is that the internal volume of the working area is very small and reduced to 150 million ° C of plasma, even retained by a magnetic field, quickly destroys the internally coating from tungsten tiles.

Внутри токамака. Источник изображения: John Lawrence

Inside the tokamak. Image source: John Lawrence

In September 2013, the reconstruction of Mast began, which were allocated 55 million pounds. Works were formally completed in October last year, but only today, after successful tests of the new plasma cooling system, MAST Upgrade was adopted by British physicists for armament.

Источник изображения: UKAEA

Image source: UKAEA

The tests have shown that the new cooling system is the Super-X diverter (part of the tokamak, to remove excess heat) – showed an order of magnitude better reducing plasma temperature than before modernization. It is reported that from 150 million ° C, the temperature decreases to 300 ° C – to the level of heating of the operating engine of the internal combustion. The new system has extended the plasma path in the magnetic field of the working area of ​​the tokamak and allowed to solve the issue with excessive heating and a protective coating consumption. In fact, this means that the commercial thermonuclear reactor at a similar principle, if it becomes a reality, and this is expected in the UK in 20 years, it will not require frequent and regular repairs in the form of restoration of the internal protective coating, which will perform the operation of the reactors commercially justified.

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