New Fusion Reactor Project Could Be Key To Fusion Energy Future

What could potentially be the first ever fusion energy reactor “to achieve ignition” looks like it will find a home outside Moscow because of a fresh agreement inked between Russia and Italy. The design of the Ignitor reactor, which would be a significant form of renewable energy, is being made possible via MIT physics professor Bruno Coppi, who will be the project’s principal investigator.

MIT announced the fusion reactor development, saying it could be ready to begin operations within a few years. It is believed by many scientists that “practical fusion power remains at least two decades away,” but it is thought that Coppi’s design, which will be “a very compact, inexpensive type of machine,” might succeed sooner due to “a particularly effective combination of factors that researchers  unexpectedly discovered” with MIT’s Alcator fusion research program. Coppi was also the one who initiated that program, so he’s leading the development of this joint Italian/Russian fusion reactor comes as no surprise.

MIT Fusion

image via MIT

To make a fusion reactor viable, MIT explained, it has to reach the ignition point, which is “the point where a fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining instead of requiring a constant input of energy.” The factors which are bringing the Ignitor reactor project together towards this ignition point “produce especially good confinement of the plasma and a high degree of purity,” with the design of this reactor aiming to “preserve these features to produce the highest plasma current densities — the amount of electric current in a given area of plasma.”

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