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Of Interest

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Fusion world

JET celebrates 40 years

The JET tokamak—training ground to multiple generations of fusion scientists and engineers—celebrated 40 years of science last week.

JET researchers and staff celebrate 40 years of operation on Friday 23 June 2023. Credit: UKAEA (Click to view larger version...)
JET researchers and staff celebrate 40 years of operation on Friday 23 June 2023. Credit: UKAEA
From its first plasma on 25 June 1983 to its record-breaking deuterium-tritium campaign last year, the Joint European Torus (JET) has consistently been at the forefront of cutting-edge achievements, propelling the world's understanding of fusion science.

Operated at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (Oxfordshire, UK) as a Joint Undertaking of the European Community since 1977, and operated under the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) since 2000, the machine is used by 4,800 EUROfusion consortium experts, students and staff from across Europe.

"JET stands as an extraordinary testament to European cooperation and international collaboration," said Tony Donné, EUROfusion Programme Manager, during a ceremony on 23 June. "For four decades, this collaborative spirit has thrived within JET, serving as an exemplary model for fostering global unity."

Over its lifetime, JET has delivered crucial insights into the complex mechanics of fusion, allowing scientists to plan ITER as well as DEMO—the demonstration fusion power plant currently under design by the fusion community in Europe. Milestones included a first deuterium-tritium campaign in the 1990s that yielded a world record shot (16.1 megawatts and 21.7 megajoules), and a second deuterium campaign in 2021/2022 that produced the world record for sustained fusion energy at high power (50 megajoules over 5 seconds).

"As JET enters its final phase, it remains committed to supporting preparations for the operation of ITER with conclusive experiments this year, before embarking on a transition to become the world's first fusion energy machine to be repurposed and decommissioned," said the EUROfusion team in its press release. "The invaluable research by JET will continue to propel the advancement of fusion energy worldwide."

See the EUROfusion press release here.

See a commemorative video released for JET's 40th anniversary here.

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