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Asdex Upgrade experimental facility generates its first plasma

Asdex Upgrade experimental facility generates its first plasma

Quote:For 30 years, the Asdex Upgrade has been paving the way for a fusion power plant that generates climate-neutral energy. The tokamak fusion plant was repeatedly expanded and improved during this time. Not least for this reason, it provides numerous insights that are incorporated into the design and operation of other fusion plants. For example, the Asdex Upgrade team has developed scenarios for the operation of the Jet test plant in the UK and the Iter test plant in France as well as forecasts for a planned demonstration power plant. A conversion planned for mid-2022 is intended to prepare the plant for the future.

The goal of fusion research is to develop a climate- and environment-friendly power plant. Like the sun, its purpose is to derive energy from the fusion of atomic nuclei. The fuel for this is an extremely thin, ionized hydrogen gas—a plasma. To ignite the fusion fire, the plasma must be enclosed in magnetic fields almost without contact and heated to over 100 million degrees.

In order to regulate the interaction between the hot fuel and the surrounding walls, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics have equipped the Asdex Upgrade with a divertor, which has given the plant its name: Axial symmetric divertor experiment. Through an additional magnetic field, the divertor field removes impurities from the plasma and improves its thermal insulation.

However, in contrast to its predecessor Asdex, the Asdex Upgrade, the divertor and important properties of the plasma, especially the density and the load on the walls, are more closely adapted to the conditions in a later power plant. Equipped with a powerful plasma heater and sophisticated measuring equipment for observing the plasma, the Asdex Upgrade can therefore be used to develop operating modes for a potential power plant. In 38,700 plasma discharges to date, the plant has answered essential research questions for the European joint experiment Jet and the international experimental reactor Iter as well as a planned demonstration power plant.
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