Scientists in Europe have made significant advancements in nuclear fusion, a process responsible for giving energy to stars and the sun. If scaled up to a commercial level, this could potentially provide vast amounts of clean, carbon-free energy.
In a recent laboratory experiment, researchers produced 69 megajoules of energy in just five seconds. While not a large amount of energy, this represents a significant step forward in the pursuit of nuclear fusion power plants.
However, creating nuclear fusion on Earth requires extremely high temperatures and a high density of atoms for a sufficiently long period. This presents a complex and challenging task.
The Joint European Torus (JET) facility in Culham, Oxford was once the world’s most advanced experimental fusion reactor until its closure at the end of 2021. The recent results from the facility’s final work were described as “very exciting,” demonstrating the strength of international collaboration in the pursuit of nuclear fusion energy.
Despite these milestones, we are still far from having nuclear fusion power plants. However, these achievements have instilled greater confidence in the development of fusion energy and deepened our understanding of the physics behind it.