In September new experiments began at the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion energy facility operated by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). These experiments are another step on the road to providing sustainable energy for the grid.
As part of the campaign, EUROfusion researchers will use JET to conduct a series of tests using helium. The ITER experimental fusion reactor, currently under construction in southern France, will use helium plasmas at the start of its commissioning, and not yet a mixture of the deuterium and tritium fuels used for the record JET achieved in late 2021. For this reason, the helium experiments now launched are also very important for the future operation of ITER.
In the new JET experiments, which will run for up to 16 weeks, researchers want to study the behavior of helium plasmas and test the effects of helium on the tungsten and beryllium walls of the JET experimental facility.
Dr Tim Luce, ITER’s Head of Science and Operation:
“An essential element of the ITER Research Plan is to explore control of the plasma interaction with the wall at high fusion temperatures. This needs to be addressed in the initial research phases before deuterium and tritium are used to produce fusion power in ITER. We have great expectations for how these experiments can help us optimise our plan to move as efficiently as possible into deuterium-tritium operation.”