Mane Energy Issue 7 - August 2017 - Page 5





he UK has taken the first of many steps toward a future of fusion power. Earlier this year, the the Tokamak ST40 was turned on and is part of a series of fusion

reactors that will hopefully deliver fusion energy to the UK grid by 2030. Tokamak Energy, a private fusion energy venture based in Oxfordshire was tasked to put fusion power into the grid and powering up the ST40 reactor is just one of the many steps necessary in reaching the 2030 goal. The reactor will produce plasma at a temperature of 15 million degrees Celsius (as hot as the centre of the Sun) in Autumn 2017 with record-breaking temperatures reaching up to 100 million degrees Celsius sometime in 2018.

The reactor will fuse hydrogen atoms into helium which can unleash almost limitless and clean energy in the process. Nuclear fusion is what powers our Sun and all the stars in the Universe and it's the immense heat, size and pressure of the Sun that allows for fusion reactions to occur. Scientists have long been aiming to duplicate the same processes here on Earth, but containing temperatures exceeding millions of degrees has been a challenge.

We have nuclear fission present in our nuclear reactors, however nuclear fusion is a much more difficult process that involves using powerful magnets to control plasma at ridiculously high temperatures for long enough to generate electricity. Thus far, fusion reactors have produced less energy than it takes to run them and that's a hurdle researchers are still trying to get over.

The UK continues to support and fund fusion power as a means of clean energy in the future.

To learn more about Fusion Energy, check out the video from the Kurzgesagt YouTube Channel