JET Sets New Record, but Shuts Down

In its final set of experiments, the Joint European Torus(JET) in Culham, UK, one of the world’ largest tokamak devices, set a record for fusion energy production, generating 69 MJ(Million joules) of energy from deuterium-tritium fuel. This was 0.7% of the 10 GJ(billion joules) that was fed into the device to runs its giant magnets. While this ratio of energy produced to energy consumed was a record for tokamaks, it fell a bit short of the record results obtained with lasers at the National Ignition Facility in California. NIF achieved on July 30, 2023 an output fusion energy almost exactly 1% of its input energy of 0.38 GJ.

Jet interior 1 | lpp fusion

JET interior, lined with beryllium, with optical image of plasma superimposed on left half.

Deuterium-tritium fuel is far more reactive that pure deuterium fuel, used in our experiments at LPPFusion, so these results are not directly comparable with the far more modest yield with deuterium alone. However, LPPFusion, as well as rival companies, expect to better these wall-plug efficiencies with pB11(hydrogen -boron fuel).

This was a swan song for JET, which is shutting down after 40 years of operation. With the construction of the enormous ITER facility indefinitely delayed, the leading tokamak devices will be in East Asia for now: the EAST device in China, K-Star in South Korea and JT-60SA in Japan.

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