A new edge to fusion research
Mira supercomputer simulations give a new “edge” to fusion research
by Katie Elyce Jones (CEPA), Writer and Editor
Using Mira, physicists from Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory uncovered a new understanding about electron behavior in edge plasma. Based on this discovery, improvements were made to a well-known analytical formula that could enhance predictions of and, ultimately, increase fusion power efficiency.
Today’s nuclear power plants run on nuclear fission reactions—or the breaking down of heavy radioactive elements like uranium, which are strictly regulated for safety and ultra-long-term waste storage. But there may be a safer, greener, and virtually inexhaustible nuclear power on the horizon. Fueled by isotopes of hydrogen collected from sea water, fusion power could be a global solution to future energy demand.
Progress in fusion research over the last few decades has led to the design of the first plant-scale, prototype fusion research reactor, ITER, currently under construction in France. With ITER slated to begin experimental tests around 2025, it is a critical time for the international teams of scientists and engineers who are planning how the reactor will perform at maximum efficiency.