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A “supernatural” magnet brings humanity closer to the dream of “building a sun”

10.09.2021 10:05 AM
A “supernatural” magnet brings humanity closer to the dream of “building a sun”
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A “supernatural” magnet brings humanity closer to the dream of “building a sun”
Teams working on two continents have achieved similar feats in their efforts to tap into a major energy source to combat climate change, producing magnets with tremendous power.

Scientists at the International Experimental Thermonuclear Reactor (ITER) in southern France on Thursday received the first part of a huge magnet so powerful that the American manufacturer claims it can lift an aircraft carrier.

The magnet, which is about 20 meters high and more than 4 meters in diameter when fully assembled, is a critical component of the 35 countries' attempt to perfect nuclear fusion.

MIT scientists and a private company also announced this week that they had also achieved an important step by successfully testing the world's most powerful high-temperature superconducting magnet, which could allow the team to make great strides towards the completion of the ITER reactor in order to reach the so-called He should "build a sun on Earth," the Associated Press reported.

Unlike current fission reactors that produce radioactive waste and sometimes catastrophic meltdowns, proponents of fusion say it provides a clean and virtually unlimited supply of energy.

Scientists and engineers will be able to discover how to harness such energy that they have been solving for nearly a century.

Rather than splitting atoms, fusion mimics a process that occurs naturally in stars to fuse two hydrogen atoms together and produce a helium atom, plus a whole large charge of energy.

Achieving fusion requires unimaginable amounts of heat and pressure, and one way is to turn hydrogen into electrically charged gas, or plasma, which is then controlled in a vacuum chamber.

This is done with the help of a powerful superconducting magnet like the "central solenoid" that General Atomics began shipping from San Diego to France this summer.
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