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Japan Turns From Nuclear Fission to Nuclear Fusion

Japan Turns From Nuclear Fission to Nuclear Fusion

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After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan shut down almost all of its nuclear power plants. And plans to build another plant on the main island of Honshu were recently cancelled in the face of strong opposition. However, Japan is now taking a leading role in developing nuclear fusion as a next-generation power source. A team of Japanese and European scientists are upgrading a testing facility in Naka. From the article:

JT-60SA is an experimental device based on the tokamak concept, in which a hot gas is confined in a torus-shaped vessel using a magnetic field. The gas will be heated to over 100 million degrees, typically for 100 seconds every hour. The plasma fuel will be hydrogen or deuterium. Deuterium mimics the behavior of a reacting deuterium-tritium plasma in a real power reactor or ITER, without generating large amounts of heat or neutrons. The reaction produces some neutrons directly, plus reactions with tritium, a by-product of one branch of the reaction. JT-60SA thus slowly can become radioactive in use, and remote handling of systems near the plasma must be planned. Japan’s JT-60SA nuclear fusion testing facility is scheduled for completion in 2018.

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