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Of Interest

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Fusion world

JET beats its own record

European researchers at the Joint European Torus (JET) facility have announced that a new fusion energy record was achieved during the device's final campaign in late 2023.

The JET control room on the day of final plasma experiments in December 2023. Credit United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority / EUROfusion. (Click to view larger version...)
The JET control room on the day of final plasma experiments in December 2023. Credit United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority / EUROfusion.
In its final deuterium-tritium experimental campaign, called DTE3, JET tested operating scenarios extrapolated from small- and medium-sized European devices to pave the way for ITER and fusion power plants to follow. JET's unique capability to work with deuterium-tritium fuel allowed it to demonstrate relevant plasma scenarios and offer critical insights into key aspects such as heat exhaust, managing fuel retention, and the effect of fusion neutrons on cooling systems and electronics.

Using advanced scenarios to structure and control the plasma, researchers set a new fusion energy record of 69.26 megajoules of heat released during a single pulse in JET. This surpasses the record of 59 megajoules achieved during a five-second pulse in December 2021 as part of the previous (DTE2) campaign. 

The ITER Director-General celebrated the accomplishment: "Throughout its lifecycle, JET has been remarkably helpful as a precursor to ITER: in the testing of new materials, in the development of innovative new components, and nowhere more than in the generation of scientific data from deuterium-tritium fusion. The results obtained here will directly and positively impact ITER, validating the way forward and enabling us to progress faster toward our performance goals once operation begins. On a personal note, it has been for me a great privilege having myself been at JET for a few years. There, I had the opportunity to learn from many exceptional people." 

ITER's Deputy Construction Project Leader Tim Luce, who participated in the JET press conference on 8 February 2024, added, "The ITER project rests on the foundation of the world's community of science and technology research and especially on JET, because JET is at the cutting edge. It has unique capabilities and it has performed unique experiments. [...] This result is inspiring to us. It is one of the key operating scenarios we intend to explore on ITER and so having this result provides us confidence going forward. [...] I am extremely confident that the results here as they're become known and analyzed will have a profound effect on the ITER Research Plan."

JET ceased plasma operations at the end of 2023 after 105,842 pulses. The findings of JET's research have critical implications not only for ITER but also for the UK's STEP prototype powerplant, Europe's demonstration powerplant, DEMO, and other global fusion projects.

Read the full press release on the EUROfusion website here.
See the record pulse, #104522, on YouTube here.

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