SINGAPORE, June 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Fusion power, a form of power that is highly efficient, secure and eco-friendly with a virtually inexhaustible supply of fuel, is being eyed as the solution to current major energy and environmental problems. Toshiba shares its vision and how advancement in its fusion technologies is contributing to the realisation of this energy source in the near future.
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Source: QST [https://www.qst.go.jp/site/naka-fusion-english/4779.html]
Figure. Mechanism of fusion
The fusion process
ITER Schematic – Source: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology official website
The Race for Nuclear Fusion
Fusion, in a nutshell, is about recreating the fusion reactions that occur inside the stars and the sun here on Earth. Fusion produces a massive amount of thermal energy, which can be used to generate power. With just 1 gram of fuel, fusion can produce the same amount of energy as burning 8 tons of petroleum.
By its very design, Fusion does not allow for runaway reactions. It also does not produce any high-level radioactive waste and is a “clean” process, in that it does not emit CO2. Deuterium, one of fusion’s fuel sources, can be produced by electrolyzing water, meaning it is virtually inexhaustible.
Toshiba has been involved in the development of fusion technologies since the 1970s. The company is involved from the design stage, and have made significant progress in regards to the design and manufacture of these technologies.
Toshiba has worked with QST (National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology) to build the fusion device JT-60 (Breakeven Plasma Test Facility), as well as its successor, the JT-60SA (Super Advanced). The company is also part of a worldwide project to make Fusion a reality, called ITER, with seven member entities (Japan, the EU, Russia, the U.S., Korea, China, and India) working together to build an experimental reactor in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance in southern France.
Toshiba aims to improve the superconducting technologies the company has developed, while also refining the high-precision heat treatment for the conductors in the TF coils for ITER, the measurement process for large-scale structures, and its machining technologies. The company also sees skilled personnel as essential to accelerate this research.
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