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Tokamak Energy: Fusion Magnets for Extreme Testing


The British fusion power company Tokamak Energy will test its magnet technology in a laboratory from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The goal is to expose fusion magnets to extreme conditions, in order to test the long-term performance of a fusion power plant. The main aim of the company is to commercially enable fusion power plants in the 2030s.

Tokamak Energy developed a gamma radiation cryostat system, which provides thermal insulation for the magnets. In order to control hydrogen fuel, which becomes plasma inside a tokamak, where it reaches temperatures several times hotter than the Sun, fusion energy requires strong magnetic fields.

The system will be first disassembled, shipped to the U.S., and then rebuilt at the Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF), at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque – one of only a few places that are able to provide such testing conditions for High-Temperature Superconducting (HTS) magnets, with sufficient intensity and energy of gamma radiation.

As said in a statement by HTS Magnet development manager at Tokamak Energy, Dr. Rod Bateman, “Our pioneering magnet technology must withstand extreme conditions to keep fusion power plants running in the future. The specialist Sandia Laboratory is ideally configured to test magnet durability and performance when exposed to gamma radiation. It is essential to push the boundaries now as we scale up our operations towards commercial fusion.

The duration of the testing, research, and analysis will be six months at the New Mexico facility – providing a lifetime testing of 60 years in only two weeks.

As said by the GIF Facility supervisor at Sandia National Laboratory, Don Hanson, “The GIF is a unique facility that can provide high doses of gamma radiation to large test objects. We look forward to working with Tokamak Energy to advance fusion technologies.

Tokamak Energy was founded in 2009 and is based in Oxfordshire, UK. The company is a pioneer in this field of fusion energy technology.

Article and image Source: Tokamak Energy