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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Real-time collaboration delivers for fusion computing

    A key computing system for ITER is now being trialled at the European tokamak JET, following collaboration betweenteams at the UK's Culham Centre for Fusion Ene [...]

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  • The balance of power

    It comes as no surprise that the French railway operator SNCF is the largest consumer of electricity in the country—it takes a lot of megawatts to power 500 sup [...]

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  • "Dummy" winding takes shape

    As orange lights flash and machines softly hum, layer one of a 'dummy' pancake winding (the building block of a poloidal field coil) is taking shape on the wind [...]

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  • As big (and heavy) as a whale

    It was pouring when the two 35-metre-long quench tanks were delivered to the ITER site at 2:12 a.m. on Thursday 24 November. And it was still raining heavily on [...]

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  • A passage to India

    108 days, 10,200 kilometres, 16 countries, and only two flat tires. These are the remarkable statistics of a no-less-remarkable journey: a father and son who tr [...]

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Of Interest

See archived articles

Adding fuel to MAST's fire

-Culham Centre for Fusion Energy

Firing tiny deuterium pellets into the tokamak furnace is one of the most effective ways of getting fuel into the plasma, enabling fusion reactions and the unlocking of energy. (Click to view larger version...)
Firing tiny deuterium pellets into the tokamak furnace is one of the most effective ways of getting fuel into the plasma, enabling fusion reactions and the unlocking of energy.
They call it the "snowball in hell"—a bullet of frozen deuterium fuel heading at high speed into the furnace-like plasma of the MAST fusion device at Culham. A team at MAST is investigating this method of fuelling plasmas and how it will work in the future on the giant international experiment ITER.

Firing these tiny pellets is one of the most effective ways of getting fuel into the plasma, enabling fusion reactions and the unlocking of energy. This will become increasingly important as future fusion devices become bigger and plasmas get hotter to reach ignition, the point at which the plasma heats itself without external input—crucial for power-producing reactors. To achieve ignition, the density of the plasma core must be raised and sustained by fuelling it.

Luca Garzotti, one of the CCFE physicists studying pellet injection on MAST, explains the process: "Just like a car engine, a tokamak needs to be fuelled—the fuel goes in to the plasma and there is an exhaust to get rid of unwanted gases. In fusion, helium comes out of the exhaust via a system called the divertor. I'm looking at how we can put the fuel (deuterium and tritium) in at the start.

Read more on Culham Centre for Fusion Energy website.


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