An enormous component built in Spain using a special kind of steel has been assembled in the JT-60SA facility for experimental nuclear fusion in Japan.
March 28, 2013 (Newswire.com) - An enormous component built in Spain using a special kind of steel has been assembled in the JT-60SA facility for experimental nuclear fusion in Japan.
The large steel part was entirely designed by the Spanish Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT), financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and manufactured by the Spanish company IDESA, which is based in Aviles. Measuring 12 metres in diameter and weighing 220 tonnes, it has been designed to completely contain the device to keep it in a vacuum at a pressure 100 million times below atmospheric pressure. Its design is intended to prevent it from becoming deformed, causing the vacuum to be lost, when it experiences large temperature differences.
This is necessary because the process requires hydrogen to be heated to temperatures in excess of 100 million degrees centigrade and the resulting plasma to be compressed in a uniform way by means of a complicated magnetic confinement process.
The JT-60SA component was assembled in the town of Naka, in the province of Ibaraki (central Japan). This joint project between the European Union (EU) and Japan, at a cost of approximately US$350 million, is scheduled to become operational in 2019.
The JT-60SA will be important for many reasons, one of which will be for its contribution to development of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). The objective of this project, which began in 2006, is to build a fusion unit in Caradache (southern France). The current project participants are the EU, United States, China, Russia, India, Japan and South Korea. The objective of the ITER is to accelerate the development of technology to enable the fusion of two hydrogen isotopes to produce an enormous amount of energy but only very low levels of nuclear waste.
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