The techniques Theodore Biewer and his colleagues are using to measure whether plasma has the right conditions to create fusion have been around awhile.
As scientists study approaches to best sustain a fusion reactor, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory investigated injecting shattered argon pellets into a super-hot plasma, when needed, to protect the reactor’s interior wall from high-energy runaway electrons.
The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is collaborating with industry on six new projects focused on advancing commercial nuclear energy technologies that offer potential improvements to current nuclear reactors and move new reactor designs closer to deployment.
When it’s up and running, the ITER fusion reactor will be very big and very hot, with more than 800 cubic meters of hydrogen plasma reaching 170 million degrees centigrade. The systems that fuel and control it, on the other hand, will be small and very cold. Pellets of frozen gas will be shot int...