A BRITISH nuclear fusion reactor has reached temperatures hotter than the centre of the sun – a huge step towards creating unlimited clean energy.
Scientists in Oxfordshire enabled their Tokomak reactor to hit 15 million°C (59 million°F), reigniting hopes that nuclear fusion can be achieved.
The ball of plasma reached the enormous temperatures as part of preparations to supply the UK grid with fusion power by 2030.
This project is run by a company called Tokamak Energy, not the government, which has headed many failed fusion attempts.
Nuclear Fusion involves hydrogen atoms combining to make helium, releasing huge amounts of energy in the process, but not radiation.
It is the process that powers the sun’s energy.
If fusion power can be created in an economical way it could become a plentiful energy source.
The CEO of Tokamak Energy said it’s time for other companies to try what they’re doing, and investors agree.
He said: « Because we are privately funded we can be more agile ».
Tokamak is funded by Legal & General as well as the British hedge-fund billionaire David Harding.
First Light Fusion, a few miles from the Tokamak laboratory in Oxfordshire, has plans to create the densest substance on Earth.
Nick Hawker, co-founder of First Light Fusion, said the company’s projects also demonstrate the virtues of the private sector.
They’re attempting a different kind of fusion, by firing projectiles at a target to create an instant of huge pressure and heat.
Both start-up companies claim they can have demonstrated devices by 2025.
There is an old running joke about nuclear fusion always being 30 years away, but Tokamak are among the first to bring that target down to 10 years with their plan to feed electricity into the grid by 2030.
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