Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The future of nuclear energy: a boost for plasma physics at EPFL

28.06.2005


The Six Parties of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) consortium have reached a decision in their negotiations, specifying the location of the world’s first energy-producing fusion reactor in Cadarache, in Southern France. The €10 billion project will generate multiple research opportunities for the Plasma Physics Research Centre at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).



ITER’s future location in Cadarache will be doubly beneficial to EPFL. In its role as a National Centre of Competence, The Plasma Physics Research Centre (CRPP) is fully integrated with the nuclear fusion research programs within the Euratom-Swiss Confederation framework. CRPP will thus be called upon to participate in various specialized, high technology facets of the reactor’s construction.

This level of participation will confirm and solidify CRPP’s reputation in the plasma physics community. Minh Quang Tran, director of the Centre, also holds a position as president of the European Fusion Development Agreement, the organization that coordinates all fusion-related technology as well as all work involving the JET (Joint European Torus), a intermediate-generation tokamak-type experimental fusion reactor.


“The synergies that will develop in this research environment will reinforce the links between EPFL and the main European centers of fusion research excellence, in their common quest for a new and promising means of safe, efficient and sufficient energy production,” notes Tran. As a key player in this international involvement, Switzerland also stands to benefit in a larger sense from industrial spin-offs that will result from the project.

An enormous energy potential

Nuclear fusion represents a practically unlimited source of energy. Under extremely high pressures and temperatures, light atoms – isotopes of hydrogen, such as deuterium and tritium—come together, or fuse, producing enormous amounts of energy. A prime example is the Sun, where huge gravitational pressure allows fusion to take place at about 10 million degrees Celsius. At the gravitational pressure we experience on Earth, higher temperatures are required to generate fusion, and to date only tokamak-type reactors are capable of reaching the 100 million-degree-Celsius threshold where energy can be produced.

In the last several years, considerable technological progress has been made in fusion research, leading to high expectations for the ITER. With this reactor, studies done at the CRPP and elsewhere on the feasibility and functioning of a nuclear fusion-based centre of electricity production can be brought to a successful conclusion, and the groundwork can be laid for the first prototype commercial fusion reactor. Up to this point energy-producing nuclear reactors have used fission, not fusion, to generate energy. Fusion reactors have important advantages; power stations will be inherently safe because “meltdown” or “runaway reactions” cannot occur, and these reactors do not generate long-lasting radioactive waste. Fusion reactors don’t emit greenhouse gases, and the basic fuels – hydrogen and lithium – are abundant and available everywhere.

The energy production of ITER will be unprecedented: a single gram of deuterium fused with one and a half grams of tritium will produce ten million times as much energy as a gram of oil. The successful launch of these new technologies in the ITER reactor will set the stage for the successful use of fusion as an inexhaustible and sustainable energy source.

Mary Parlange | alfa
Further information:
http://www.epfl.ch

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht When fluid flows almost as fast as light -- with quantum rotation
22.06.2018 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

nachricht Thermal Radiation from Tiny Particles
22.06.2018 | Universität Greifswald

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>