Calendar of Events
Will It Work? Progress and Prospects in Magnetic Fusion Energy
Speaker: Dr. Robert Kaita, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Abstract: Controlled nuclear fusion has the promise of providing clean and abundant energy. At the same time, critics have called fusion “the energy source of the future – always has been and always will be.” In the 1990’s, “scientific breakeven” was achieved in the Joint European Torus (JET) in the UK and the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) in the US. They were the world’s largest magnetic confinement fusion machines at the time, and their fusion power output was close to the input power needed for fusion to occur. The next step is the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, now simply known as ITER, a much bigger device for generating significant amounts of fusion energy. This demonstration is not expected until 2035, however, or four decades after the “scientific breakeven” experiments on JET and TFTR. The talk will present the basics of magnetic confinement fusion and discuss where current progress and plans put us on the scale of pessimism to optimism for fusion as a practical energy source.
Host: Jolie Cizewski