New reports have confirmed that German scientists started the nuclear fusion experiment yesterday. Their goal is to advance in this field, as nuclear fusion is a safer and cleaner type of nuclear power.
The researchers from the Institute of Plasma Physics Max Planck in Greifswald, Germany, have been building and testing parts for the project for almost nine whole years. Yesterday, they proceeded to inject a very small hydrogen amount into a device that was afterwards zapped with the power level of six thousand microwave ovens. The result was plasma, an extremely hot gas that was present for less than a second. The operation was initiated by the German Chancellor herself, Angela Merkel. As the device cooled down, the scientists declared the experiment a total success.
Robert Wolf, senior scientist, has declared that all went as expected, but as with every experiment there are always a couple of risks to consider. For example, arranging the magnets necessary for stabilizing the plasma inside the device can be quite tricky. In order to avoid making any mistakes, the scientists had to observe the previous experiment that took place five years ago in Switzerland regarding the Large Hadron Collider.
Even though there is still much work to be done on nuclear fusion, experts believe this type of power might one day replace nuclear fission reactors and fossil fuels, which will be a huge step for the human race.
Southern France is the current building site for a research reactor named ITER, that is supposed to trap plasma in a device that looks like a doughnut by using an electric current. While the device named tokamak is easy to build, the same cannot be said of its operation. The tokamak was created back in the 1950s by Soviet physicists.
On the other side, the Germans are focusing on another technology implemented during the same period of time by Lyman Spitzer, an American physicist. This technology is based on a similar looking device named stellarator that makes use of magnetic coils to control the plasma. The leader of the project in Greifswald, Thomas Klinger, believes the stellarator is supposed to keep the plasma on the same spot for more time than a tokamak. Furthermore, the second device is much easier to operate, since it is calmer.
As scientists started the nuclear fusion experiment, scientists and professors in the field of physics have all agreed that the result is promising and that they are sure to achieve even more in the coming future. However, skeptics believe that research in nuclear field is a waste of money which could be better invested in other endeavors.
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