MIT says actual nuclear fusion will be on the grid in 15 years

MIT says the holy grail of energy production — fusion — is only 15 years away.


NSFW    CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — Researchers from MIT say nuclear fusion is only 15 years away from becoming a reality.

A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working with newly formed company Commonwealth Fusion Systems says it will build a working fusion power plant in 15 years, thanks to a new superconducting material that recently became commercially available.

The MIT Energy Initiative announced the project in a statement published March 9 on its website.

The collaboration between MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems plans to use the new superconducting steel tape coated with a yttrium-barium-copper oxide to make smaller, more powerful magnets that can be used in fusion reactors.
The new magnets will double the magnetic field of a fusion reactor, which means more power can be produced with a smaller device.
The smaller size will reduce costs and complexity, making future fusion power plants easier to build.

The researchers say they will be able to create the first fusion reactor that produces more energy than is required to get the fusion reaction going, the university said in a statement published on MIT News.
The planned fusion experiment, called SPARC, is set to be 1/65th the volume of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project currently being built in France, according to Guardian.

"This is an important historical moment: Advances in superconducting magnets have put fusion energy potentially within reach, offering the prospect of a safe, carbon-free energy future," MIT President L. Rafael Reif said in the statement to MIT News.
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