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Nuclear Fusion machine looks promising at startup.....

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posted on Feb, 4 2016 @ 06:16 PM
They flipped the switch for a brief trial and created a helium plasma for nano seconds Wednesday......(

This Ongoing project is exploring a different method of producing the magnetic bottle which the fusion is contained by.....
This is NOT a TOKAMAK fusion machine....but an entirely different device.

They call it a Stellarator.....and it was conceived by Lyman Spitzer back in 1950.....
The Max Planck Institute hopes thyat when this thing is working it can hold a super hot fusion plasma for as long as 30 minutes....
I leave you to follow the CBC link to the details...but suffice it to say they don't plan to generate power with this thing....just explore the physics of fusion containment......

Please have at the pros and cons....b

From the article:
The Greifswald device should be able to keep plasma in place for much longer than a tokamak, said Thomas Klinger, who heads the project.

"The stellarator is much calmer," he said in a telephone interview. "It's far harder to build, but easier to operate."

Known as the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator, or W7-X, the 400-million-euro ($609 million) device was first fired up in December using helium, which is easier to heat. Helium also has the advantage of "cleaning" any minute dirt particles left behind during the construction of the device.

edit on 4-2-2016 by bandersnatch because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 4 2016 @ 06:24 PM
a reply to: bandersnatch

I remember hearing about this device not to long ago. If it is the same one I'm thinking of it took decades to build.

posted on Feb, 4 2016 @ 06:39 PM
a reply to: beyondtruth
20 yrs and 1.6 billion euros..

posted on Feb, 4 2016 @ 06:46 PM
a reply to: bandersnatch

I posted about this yesterday over here: ATS: A question about fusion

So I do not think this is quite braking news--more like nobody has noticed. Over in the Science Tech forum there is a thread on the magnetic field being tested from 2015(?). Heck, W7-X was completed April 2014. They spent a year methodically testing each system. First plasma run was helium on 10 December, 2015. They still need to add the helium gas shunts so they will only run until mid-March this year before shutting down for a bit. Their plan is for a 4 year study and a 30 minute run. They expect this year to get up to 10 seconds!

This device is to test plasma not produce energy. Check out my other post after the one mentioned above for even more devices being studied. The molten lead device sounds all kinds of crazy!

I think ATS needs a fusion thread where news and updates can be shared with another thread to discuss the implications of such reactors. I am a little too new here myself to do it (heck, don't even have an avatar yet!).


posted on Feb, 4 2016 @ 06:53 PM
I guess search is still too limited a function....didn't get your thread on my search but no matters....
The article says they fired it up Wednesday.....or that was my impression...(check the link for a shot of Angela Smirkle pushing the big button...)
There are a couple other pics too.....
one of the field (presumably)
and one of the Tokamak site in France......

posted on Feb, 4 2016 @ 07:12 PM
a reply to: bandersnatch

The plasma photo is from the cameras inside the device. They took one of the helium plasma in December and that was 1/100th of second (or something).

The Max Plank newsletter from March 2015 has a detailed description of how they set it all up. Insane to say the least! The cameras have to be fast to catch any plasma fluctuations so if they did real time data collection the total amount is something like 10 GB per fractions of a second (forgot exact amount). And 30 minutes is 1800 seconds so they devised a lossy algorithm to capture only what they want and toss the rest. Still ends up being a lot of data.

W7-X is in Germany which is UTC +1 difference. I am at UTC -9, so was it early Wednesday or late Tuesday!

Nice to know others are interested!

edit on 4-2-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: spelling

edit on 4-2-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: spelling

posted on Feb, 4 2016 @ 08:49 PM
I try to pay attention to this stuff but its proliferating fast....
Lets hope they pull some real power from the French machine...ITER.....

posted on Feb, 5 2016 @ 03:04 PM

originally posted by: bandersnatch
They flipped the switch for a brief trial and created a helium plasma for nano seconds Wednesday......(

Heh, just noticed! It was their first hydrogen plasma! And it was 1/4 of a second.

The Wendelstein 7-X fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald produced its first hydrogen plasma on 3 February 2016.

Max-Planck Newsletter

They shot it with a 2-MW microwave cannon. They will upgrade to 20 MW version for their latter runs.

Sorry, my OCD kicked in and had to make the minor correction!

posted on Apr, 11 2016 @ 12:17 PM
The new Max Plank newsletter is out!

Some of the highlights:
* They ran 942 plasma discharges with 92 being of a "technical" nature.
* The control systems are functioning far better than expected allowing more plasma runs
* Central plasma temperatures went up to "~100 million deg. C"
* Outer plasma/ion temps went up to "~10 million deg. C"
* The final plasma runs lasted up to 6 seconds
* At higher plasma densities the temps were slightly higher for the edges.
* The runs were with a 4 MW heating gun which will eventually be stepped up to the 20 MW model
* After this run, heat shielding and a Test Diverter Unit (TDU) are being fitted with a planned 8 MW for 10 seconds by early next year, 2017.

Source: Max Plank Institute for Plasmaphysics, April 2016 - Wendelstein 7-X Newsletter

This is really great news! The newsletter is a free PDF and has more information (no registration required). They mention that this was a world-wide effort, not just a German one, with 40% being European and 24% being US led. I like how they did not go toe-to-toe with China's EAST tokomak and have a press release battle since that is what China did after the fist run of W7-X happened on March 10.

posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 12:39 PM
Hey, there is another stellarator coming on-line!

The University’s nuclear fusion device, the Hybrid Illinois Device for Research and Applications, or HIDRA, will finally be completed and will form its first plasma Friday.

This process will allow researchers like Dr. Daniel Andruczyk, the head of the HIDRA project in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering (NPRE), to conduct tests with the machine.

“We’ll get our first plasma (Friday). It’ll be the first official start of the machine. That’s really exciting,” Andruczyk said. “All machines go through this: you have your first plasma, and from there you start to do experiments.”
Andruczyk’s former colleagues told him HIDRA was to be replaced by a newer, more powerful device. He warned Ruzic, who then had to overcome political and financial obstacles to bring the machine to the University.

“He called me up and said, ‘Hey do we want a stellarator?’ And I said, ‘Of course we want a stellarator.’” Professor Ruzic said.
This is an incredibly rare experience. The University is one of only four schools, the others being Auburn, Wisconsin and Columbia, that let undergraduates work on a fusion device.

Source: The Daily Illini, April 17, 2016 - University’s nuclear fusion device to be complete, available for use Friday

So more plasma research! The announcement doesn't detail what kind of stellarator (partial or fully optimized) or its configuration or even what it is a "hybrid" with but that is OK because h3ll yeah the world needs more stellarators!

posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 01:29 AM
edit on Jun 17th 2016 by Djarums because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 04:21 PM
a reply to: anna35346

You are in luck! There is a write up at that goes through the history of Wendelstein 7-X Sellarator and where they stand now (they are shutdown and plan to restart mid-next year). This thread has been in the making for a number of years. It has been forgotten until they made their hydrogen plasma in Feb. 2016 (which is about the time I stopped lurking and joined!). Originally, it was just to announce the magnetic cage test at vacuum. Then came the helium plasma, and I tacked on the hydrogen runs and newsletter updates. I suppose I should do a comprehensive W7-X write up with the u-tube vid on how it was constructed, add a fusion overview, types of device, etc. (I do have one I started inword...)

The experiments started in February and continued until March 2016. After that, it was planned to open the plasma vessel again to enable the installation of carbon tiles to protect the vessel walls. This will make it possible to reach higher heat power, higher temperatures and longer discharges of around one second. Further phased developments are planned until 30-minute discharges can be generated in approximately four years' time, and it will be possible to test whether the Wendelstein 7-X can fulfil its optimization targets at a full heat power of 20 megawatts., June 7, 2016 - Start of scientific experimentation at the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device

The article states "Start of [experiments]" which is kind of misleading as the device is shutdown! This should have been stated back in March. What they have is an array of super fast cameras, x-ray imaging, lasers, thermostats, heaters, scrapers, etc. that have run through their paces with the 900+ "shots" (see above). Now, the walls need some reinforcement, a larger heat gun, and inspection so they are shutdown. Technically, the instruments they are adding will allow future plasma research so, yeah, "starting" is a correct statement but also not as precise as "Shutdown for planned upgrades".

Nuclear fusion research with world-wide teams is a slow process!

posted on Jun, 10 2016 @ 11:39 PM
edit on Jun 17th 2016 by Djarums because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 16 2016 @ 04:25 PM
edit on Jun 17th 2016 by Djarums because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:47 PM

Researchers at the Technology Institute of Costa Rica (TEC) announced the first discharge of high temperature plasma in Latin America on Wednesday, joining an elite group of countries who have made advances in harnessing nuclear fusion to produce clean energy.

To produce the discharge, TEC physicists used a device called a stellarator built on the university’s campus in Cartago province.

The first discharge of Costa Rica’s Stellarator-1 (SCR-1) lasted only 4.5 seconds but is considered the most complex applied physics research conducted in the country, TEC officials said during a special ceremony held Wednesday and broadcast live.

Costa Rica is just the sixth country in the world to have developed a stellarator, along with the U.S., Japan, Spain, Australia and Germany, according to a news release from TEC.

Source: TICO Time News, June 30, 2016 - Costa Rica makes nuclear fusion history with plasma discharge.

Way to go Costa Rica!! "Only" 4.5 seconds? That is a long time in plasma physics. W7-X only made it to 6 seconds after 900 shots so that is a big deal! And this is the only news source I can find... oh well. I will take what I can get. No mention on what kind of plasma (hydrogen?) or the temperature they reached. Tried the TEC site but it is in Spanish (there is only the mention of their end goal of 300,000 °C, same as the article). The article has a couple dubbed in English videos.

Still cool news!

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 03:24 PM
From the TICO Time News source above (they got it from TEC)

As you can see this is WAY smaller than the W7-X in Germany (3.5 m [12 feet] high super conducting magnets). You can see a walk up screen pad and chairs behind it! You can also make out the exterior controlling magnets (in black).

That is a cool little stellarator!

posted on Jul, 11 2016 @ 12:49 PM
Update at Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics.

The experiments were concluded as scheduled on 10 March [2016]. Meanwhile the plasma vessel has been re-opened in order to mount 6,000 carbon tiles to protect the vessel walls and insert the divertor: The tiles are installed on the wall of the plasma vessel in ten broad strips conforming to the winding contour of the plasma edge. This is because at the edge of the plasma vessel energy and particles encroach on limited sectors of the vessel wall. If these wall sectors are protected by special divertor plates, the impinging particles can be neutralised and pumped off along with undesirable impurities. This makes the divertor an important tool for controlling impurities and the density of the plasma
Installation of the 6,200 differently shaped wall tiles and 10 divertor modules must be done to a precision of one to two millimetres, this being no easy matter in the asymmetric plasma vessel: "After exact measurement of the inside wall we therefore compare the wall dimensions with the tile measurements by a numerical method and modify, where necessary, the tiles with a computer-controlled milling cutter", explains Mathias Müller from Greifswald's Technical Services.

Installation will last till mid-2017: Wendelstein 7-X with clad wall will then be fit for high-power plasmas with heating powers of up to eight megawatts lasting ten seconds. After thorough testing of the divertor function the graphite tiles in subsequent extensions are to be replaced by carbon-fibre-reinforced carbon elements that are also water-cooled. In about four years this will make discharges of up to 30 minutes possible in which it can be checked at a heating power of 10 megawatts whether Wendelstein 7-X can also permanently achieve its optimisation objectives.

Source Max Planck IPP, July 8, 2016 - Wendelstein 7-X: Upgrading after successful first round of experiments.

A reprint of the same is up on, July 11, 2016: here.

So the upgrades go in. Another round of cooling, cleaning, testing, then running at temp to only shut it all back down to rip out the carbon tiles and replace them with another set. Then it has to be done all over again! So, lets guess, 2021 we will we see the full power of this device.

Since this is a fully optimized stellarator the magnets, the reactor walls, supports, were all created to have the most impact on keeping the magnetic fields functioning at peak performance. That means everything being added has to have a millimeter precision. The W7-X had to wait until super computer power was sufficient to perform the calculations to create the magnetic field geometries. The whole thing was also assembled by computers! We waited 20 years for it to be constructed so another year for the tiles to be added is not too much to ask I guess! Nice to see an overall timeline for W7-X and the stages they are going to go through.

posted on Sep, 20 2016 @ 11:49 AM

Update to this OP.

The Department of Energy [DOE] awarded a $1.05 million grant to the University’s nuclear fusion device, the Hybrid Illinois Device for Research and Applications, or HIDRA. This grant, the first one for the machine, will allow researchers at the University’s Center for Plasma Material Interactions to conduct experiments with the HIDRA.

“The grant is specifically for developing liquid lithium technology to be run inside the fusion reactor as a component that faces the plasma,” Daniel Andruczyk said, the head of the HIDRA department at the CPMI.

Source:, Sept. 19, 2016 - University of Illinois stellarator nuclear fusion device receives million dollar grant.

This is a first for stellarators! The plasma-facing interior of the nuclear fusion reactor is called "the first wall" and under magnetic confinement is not supposed to interact with the nuclear plasma... at least in theory. In reality, the plasma pulses against the magnetic confinement and tiny tendrils do touch the surface. When that occurs, the first wall becomes pitted and can flake off micron (or smaller) sized particles (they look like snowflakes) that then enter back into the plasma as impurities thus disrupting the heating process and the expected plasma conditions.

Liquid lithium first walls (also called "liquid lithium blankets") have been developed by PPNL and are in use in tokomaks (including a run for a few hours in China's EAST reactor). The lithium is heated until liquid, placed into a shallow pool at the bottom of the reactor's interior, then heated with a radio gun vaporizing the pool. Since the lithium gas is repelled by the magnetic fields being used for confinement it is "smooshed" against the bare first-wall and takes its place as the new first wall. Any fast moving neutrino hitting the liquid lithium (which is slowly starting to drip down the sides of the reactor wall to pool back in the bottom well where it came from) can produce a new tritium particle and impart heat into the lithium. The lithium is cycled out to a heat exchange unit while new lithium is vaporized again. Any new tritium particles are trapped by the magnetic confinement ready to be fused with deuterium. This prevents the original first-wall from becoming degraded as fast as it would have without the liquid lithium blanket.

Now HIDRA gets to be the first stellarator to use this technology and run experiments. Which is good news for everybody about to turn on nuclear fusion devices as this looks like the winning method for first-walls.

posted on Sep, 29 2016 @ 12:21 PM
So, about every other day, I do a search on "nuclear fusion reactor news" to see what is going on with various devices around the world. I also check on "fusion plasma" to see if there are any breakthroughs in that department. That is where I ran across this story.

Stewart Prager has stepped down as director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in New Jersey, the lab announced in a statement yesterday. Prager's departure comes in the aftermath of a malfunction that has knocked the lab's main facility out of action—for perhaps as long as a year.
[In] August a magnetic coil failed, rendering the machine [National Spherical Torus Experiment - Upgraded (NSTX-U)] inoperable. Two teams of researchers from PPPL and beyond are now studying the malfunction, says Larry Bernard, spokesperson for PPPL. "There's a forensic team that's trying to figure out what went wrong and a design team to figure out how to fix it," he says.

Source:, Sept. 27, 2016 - Director of U.S. fusion lab steps downs as researchers struggle to repair flagship machine.

WTF!!! I have to find out about a complete disruptive failure to a nuclear fusion device in a press release about the director of PPPL stepping down??!! A magnetic field coil failed? One of the new REBCO ones?? What? No other news on what was happening when it failed, how much pressure it was under, or if it was only a test... nothing! And it is out for up to a year?!!


posted on Oct, 3 2016 @ 12:22 PM

Now that Princeton researchers are looking into the cause of their reactor’s malfunction, they’re noting that part of the problem may have arisen during the upgrade process, which made the reactor twice as powerful as its predecessor. As Nature reports, ” … a more careful analysis could have prevented the reactor failure.” And Stephen Dean, president of Fusion Power Associates, an advocacy group in Gaithersburg, Maryland, told the publication, “Mistakes like this do sometimes get made, but with all of the experience the fusion program has, it should not have happened this way.”

Yahoo News, Oct. 1, 2016 - After a $94 million upgrade, Princeton’s nuclear fusion reactor breaks down.

*sigh* The article shows a picture of a Hull drive (ion) being tested at JPL. At least there is a little more news and yes, the upgrade to new REBCO magnets may be the source of the fault. The article says that such an upgrade is not supposed to happen at this level of sophistication. They also note that MIT's fusion reactor is the only "major" one left in the US. Of course, there is not indication what "major" means. And MIT is shutting theirs down for an upgrade.

Of course, "non-major" reactors include: Tri-Alpha, Illinois' stellarator, the Proton-boron device (mostly self funded), and couple more including the reclusive Lockheed T-4. Only one of the listed devices is under a university so I guess that makes them "minor", IDK. But really, the PPPL issue should be HUGE news.

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