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Fusion – Helping JET soar

  • This summer, supported by critical diagnostics equipment from ORNL, scientists at the Joint European Torus in the United Kingdom are slated to run their first fusion experiments using deuterium and tritium fuel in 25 years. Credit: EUROfusion

  • For the first time in 25 years, scientists will use deuterium and tritium to create a plasma inside the chamber of the Joint European Torus in the United Kingdom to study nuclear fusion. As in the earlier experiments, diagnostics systems developed by ORNL will play a key role in monitoring the plasma. Credit: EUROfusion

  • This summer, supported by critical diagnostics equipment from ORNL, scientists at the Joint European Torus in the United Kingdom are slated to run their first fusion experiments using deuterium and tritium fuel in 25 years. Credit: EUROfusion

  • For the first time in 25 years, scientists will use deuterium and tritium to create a plasma inside the chamber of the Joint European Torus in the United Kingdom to study nuclear fusion. As in the earlier experiments, diagnostics systems developed by ORNL will play a key role in monitoring the plasma. Credit: EUROfusion

Equipment and expertise from Oak Ridge National Laboratory will allow scientists studying fusion energy and technologies to acquire crucial data during landmark fusion experiments in Europe. 

ORNL’s Ted Biewer led a team that developed diagnostics equipment for JET, the Joint European Torus facility in the United Kingdom, which will allow scientists to better measure and understand the nuclear fusion process.

JET is a testbed for ITER, the international experiment under construction in France that will eventually use deuterium and tritium fuel to demonstrate fusion as a viable, carbon-free energy source.

Deuterium-tritium experiments have been rare in part because tritium is in short supply and challenging to handle. Fusion researchers will use this fuel for the first time in 25 years in JET to maximize fusion performance in anticipation of ITER. 

“These JET experiments are historic. It’s a rover-touching-down-on-Mars type thing for fusion,” said Biewer. – Kristen Coyne