Posted on: 1st December 2017
Once again, it’s time to peek at the advent calendars, and we present this year’s EUROfusion Advent Series which will reveal answers to some of the frequently asked fusion questions. From the technological and scientific aspects to questions about careers in fusion and even budgetary considerations, these questions, and answers, provide insights into different facets of the world of fusion.
Q: Would a sustainable Deuterium-Deuterium (D-D) fusion reaction require much more energy compared to Deuterium-Tritium (D-T) fusion?
A: YES, because a D-D fusion reaction requires a much higher temperature than a D-T fusion reaction to occur. Read more on the FAQ page
Q: How will waste materials be removed from future fusion plants?
A: The main by-product in a future power station will be helium – a non-radioactive gas which will be pumped out of the vessel and store on site. Details on the page.
Q:The third question on the EUROfusion Advent list – What are the main methods used to heat the fuel to the temperatures necessary for fusion to occur?
A: In tokamaks, there are three main heating methods. Read more to find out: Methods of heating fusion plasma
Q: On Day 4 of Advent we bring you an interesting question question – Where does the plasma colour come from?
A: The plasma colour is imparted by the hydrogen fuel. Get all the details on the FAQ page.
Fifth on the EUROfusion Advent calendar is a question about magnetic cages that contain the hot fusion plasma.
Q:How is the plasma contained in the ‘cage’, is it via superimposed magnetic fields?
A:Yes. In tokamak devices such as JET, researchers use magnetic fields to confine and contain the plasma away for the walls of the vessel. These are a combination of fields that the plasma creates itself and external ones applied. Read on for more details.
Q: The day 6 question is, What is the thickness of the lithium blanket in JET and in ITER?
A:JET does not have a lithium blanket as it is an experimental facility, and not a power reactor. Also ITER, will test different lithium blanket modules – but these will not completely surround the vessel. Read more: FAQ page
Seventh on our FAQ list is a straightforward question about ITER.What is ITER and how is it supposed to work?
A: ITER is a fusion experiment like JET – a tokamak – and is being built in Cadarache, the south of France. As a stepping stone to fusion power plants, ITER will demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power. So read more on the FAQ page.
On the eighth day of advent, the EUROfusion FAQ series highlights another topical question:
Q:Why is international collaboration so important to #fusion?
A: The simple answer is that the challenge of developing fusion so it puts electricity on the grid is enormous – and big challenges tend to need wide multilateral / international solutions (e.g., the international space station, CERN, which is a European particle physics experiment etc.). Read on about the importance of collaborations in fusion.
Day nine on the EUROfusion Advent FAQ list is a question that’s again related to the magnetic cages that contain plasma in a #fusion device such as a tokamak.
Q: How do the magnetic fields contain the plasma and how are these fields are set up and powered?
A: Here’s the gist, as the ions in the plasma are charged (the plasma is so hot all the negatively-charged electrons are stripped off the atoms, leaving them with a positive charge) they respond to magnetic fields. Learn more by reading the entire answer.
On the tenth day of advent EUROfusion brings you a question about temperatures inside fusion devices.
Q:What is the temperature generated in a tokamak? How can the inner wall material resist that temperature?
A: In order for fusion to occur in the very hot gas – or plasma –created inside JET, the plasma must be heated to temperatures in excess of 150 million degrees Celsius. In order to achieve this, the plasma is actively held away from the walls of the tokamak container by using powerful magnetic fields. Read to details on the FAQ page.
It’s day 11 of Advent and the EUROfusion #FAQ is about the connection between strong forces and energy released by the tritium-deuterium fusion reaction.
Q:What does strong force have to do with the energy released by the tritium-deuterium fusion reaction?
A: When nuclei bind together in a fusion reaction, it is because the strong force is attracting them. The helium nucleus which results from deuterium and tritium fusing is more tightly bound together by the strong force; in the process of fusing, energy is given out. Read more.
For the 12th day of EUROfusion advent faq, we highlight an interesting and fundamental question.
Q: How is it that both fission and fusion produce power? If splitting a large atom into two smaller atoms releases energy, it seems that combining two smaller atoms into one larger atom would require energy, not release it.
The answer, lies in the size of the nuclei. Do read the detailed answer to understand fusion basics.
It’s the 13th FAQ on our EUROfusion Advent series and we look at a question on safety.
Q: What are some of the safety measures that assure against accidents that may occur during a fusion reaction?
The answer has to do with the fact that #fusion is inherently safe. How so? Learn more by visiting the FAQ page.
For the fourteenth day of advent, the EUROfusion FAQ series highlights remote handling. So what is remote handling, and why is it used in fusion devices? Read the FAQ page to learn the details.
Today for the 15th day of #advent, EUROfusion presents an FAQ about superconducting coils: Why are superconducting coils used in fusion devices? See the answer to get the details.
It’s day 16 of #advent and on the EUROfusion faq series is the following question: Are members of the public allowed to visit any of the fusion laboratories?
The answer is yes! Check out the FAQ page to see which fusion facility you can visit and how to arrange for the visit.
On day 17 of advent, EUROfusion brings you an faq about tokamaks. We were asked: Are there any other tokamaks in operation around the world?
And the answer is yes. As well as JET, the other tokamaks in Europe, which are part of the EUROfusion agreement include ASDEX -Upgrade, MAST-Upgrade, TCV, and WEST. Read more and check out the website and map that compiles information about all the world’s tokamaks
Ever wondered what JET’s ITER-Like Wall is? Well, on day 18 of advent, EUROfusion brings you an FAQ to answer just that. Q: What is JET’s ITER-Like Wall?
A: Till 2011, EUROfusion’s tokamak JET had inner walls made of carbon fibre composites. In 2011, JET underwent a major refurbishment and beryllium and tungsten tiles replaced the carbon tiles by using the remote handling technology. Read More.
Nineteenth on the EUROfusion Advent FAQ list is a question about fusion energy and how it may impact the environment.
So, how will fusion energy impact the environment? Visit our faq page and find out the compelling arguments in favour of realising fusion power.
The 20th fusion faq in the EUROfusion advent series is about removing helium ash from a fusion machine. During a fusion reaction, helium nuclei add to the plasma heating, but at some point they lose energy and become “helium ash,” an impurity which needs to be removed. Read the FAQ to get more information.