What is a tokamak? Just about a fusion reactor

Can you imagine a world in which not need extra energy sources? A world where you will not need to think about how to save energy. It will be, if not free, then very cheap. Now imagine the Sunthat every second produces as much energy as humanity has spent in its entire history and not spend a long time. How can we realize the energy of the Sun on our planet? It turns out that for over 60 years, there are technologies that can provide us with almost limitless energy sources for minimum money and with the use of almost free fuel. A reasonable question: why aren’t we using this opportunity?

What is the tokamak

The word ”tokamak” means nothing — it’s just a reduction, which then became a full-fledged word. It is used not only in Russia but also abroad, because in our country this thing came up and that we are a long time actively developed.

Tokamak - therodalina kameasure mAgnatname toTuscany. And that's all.

The essence of the tokamak is to create a magnetic field that will flow fusion reaction. As the temperature of this reaction is not just high, but literally prohibitive (several million degrees Celsius), it can not be carried out inside just a camera — it will melt well before reaching operating temperature.

This temperature is achieved due to the fact that the inside of the tokamak the substance is in the fourth state of aggregation, which is achieved at these high temperatures. This state is called plasma.

Who invented the tokamak

The first who proposed the use of thermonuclear synthesis for industrial purposes, was a Soviet physicist O. A. Lavrent’ev. He did this in his work in 1950. His work began the study of ways to use fusion.

A year later, other physicists Sakharov and Tamm — developed the idea and said that the fusion reaction should be maintained within the closed compartment of the toroidal shape.

Torus (toroid) is a three-dimensional shape resulting from the rotation of the ring around the center of rotation. Rough examples of the Torah can serve as a donut, bagel or Cycling chamber is removed from the wheel.

The term for the designation of the tokamak was proposed by a student of academician Kurchatov, I. N. Golovin. However, in his version it was supposed to be ”Tokamak” (toroidal chamber magnetic), but later they began to use a more euphonious word ”tokamak”.

The first operating tokamak was built in 1954, but prior to 1968, they existed only in the Soviet Union, because very few people believed in the existence within the chamber of such high temperature. Only once in the tokamak T-3 in the Institute of atomic energy I. V. Kurchatov visited British scientists and their equipment confirmed the existence of temperature 11.6 million degrees Celsius, this has led to the explosive growth in popularity and research in this direction in the world.

The tokamak and is now considered the most promising method of producing energy of nuclear fusion and the study of plasma as the state of aggregation of matter.

On Earth plasma is in a natural environment found only in lightning and the Northern lights, in the space of it consists of just all - stars, nebula, interstellar space.

How does the tokamak

To create the inside of the tokamak magnetic field, it is made up of sections, within which are wound coils. As they go throughout the length of the camera, and create something like a closed tunnel, the resulting magnetic field is called toroidal. This is the working area of the installation.

Before operating from the chamber of the tokamak evacuated, and instead fill it with a mixture of deuterium and tritium. They are the basis of nuclear fusion.

Deuterium - an isotope of hydrogen, nucleus of which consists of one proton and one neutron. Tritium - an isotope of hydrogen, nucleus of which consists of a proton and two neutrons.

The advantage of using these two elements is that they are very cheap. Deuterium is very easily obtained from the water on our planet is more than enough, and the tritium is synthesized though slightly more complicated way, but it’s not a big problem.

When the chamber is filled, it creates a vortex electric field, which support the plasma inside the chamber, and simultaneously warms it, leading to the same temperature of several million degrees.

As field and heat generated by increasing current in the inductor, and it can not increase indefinitely the lifetime of the plasma in a stable condition does not exceed a few seconds. This is the main reason that we can’t use the tokamaks as a source of industrial energy. There are ways to solve this problem, including using a microwave radiation, but while the work in this direction is still in progress.

Contact the walls of the tokamak with no plasma, and therefore, they do not melt, but they still feel tough. Because of this, walls are made of beryllium and cut into small square plates. So it is easier to remove the heat.

However, microwave radiation and so are applied inside of the tokamak, as only the electromagnetic field is not enough to heat the plasma to the temperature necessary for the implementation of thermonuclear reactions.

The usual particle physics clearly tells us that nuclei with the same charge repel each other. But when it reaches ultra-high temperatures, they begin to behave differently, forming a helium nucleus plus one free neutron. It was at this point and releases a tremendous amount of energy. In normal conditions it is spent on the interactions of atoms among themselves.

The largest fusion reactor

Of course, we can say that the biggest fusion reactor is the Sun, but all this is conditional, there are stars and more. The biggest fusion reactor on Earth is ”the international thermonuclear experimental reactor” (ITER or ITER). It is based in the South of France since 2007 and, like the large hadron Collider is an international project.

First plasma was scheduled for 2020, and the first electricity network in 2027, but the deadline is not met due to the fact that a project has many participants (each in its own way hinders the project) and due to the fact that this has never been done.

In order to describe its features, suffice it to say that it will be achieved at a temperature of 150 million degrees Celsius. It’s 10 times more than within the solar core. To imagine such values impossible.

When ITER will be constructed (as we will describe in our news Telegram-channel), it will be the main study of thermonuclear fusion for future study the reaction of atoms, as a potential energy source of the future.

One of the interesting figures of ITER can be noted the size of the tokamak, which is 28 meters in diameter and 28 meters in height. The design capacity is 0.5 GW (2.5 more than the most powerful of what are now). The magnetic field is 10 Tesla (Earth’s magnetic field is of 0.00005 Tesla).

The project cost is just $ 15 billion. For comparison, the ISS has spent over 28 years $ 53 billion, and in preparation for the world Cup in Qatar in 2022 - about $ 130 billion.

Is it safe fusion reaction

The main advantage of fusion reaction taking place inside the tokamak, is its safety. You wonder how this is possible with the achievement of such high temperatures, but it’s true.

All due to the fact that the density of plasma a million times less than the density of the atmosphere. Due to such characteristics, explosion due to internal pressure simply is impossible. Yes, and if the temperature starts to fall, the plasma just as the physicists say, ”to crumble”. Plus, the fuel is fed during the whole reaction and to stop it simply to stop its flow. For example, a nuclear power plant just can not be shut down and I’ve already told you why.

The only danger is that the isotope tritium has a low radioactivity. However, it is not so high to worry about. It is significantly lower than that of the fuel for a nuclear power plant. For example, the half-life of uranium is almost 5 billion years (i.e. almost never), but tritium is only 12 years old. Yes and used it a minimal amount.

Only 80 grams of a mixture of deuterium and tritium in the tokamak give as much energy as 1000 tonnes of coal during combustion. So consider.

You can also add that the technology of nuclear fusion can not be applied for military purposes. The creation of the plasma outside of the tokamak is not yet possible, and use him as a weapon is poorly achievable due to the fact that it doesn’t explode.

Why not get energy from fusion

Despite all the promise of technology and what we are talking about it for more than 70 years ago, while it is impossible to achieve industrial operation of such devices. Still they have something to work on. For example, the possibility of continuous operation and further increase of plasma temperature.

When this problem will be solved, we will get on Earth a small piece of the Sun, and then we can say that we have reached perfection in energy production. Of course, you can invent other even more efficient methods of producing energy, but fusion can now change a lot. Most importantly, we will not only get the ability to turn off the light for the sake of economy.

And the release of energy webwait this: the Earth's Oceans heat up like every second is falling five atomic bombs