• The new reactor is designed for basic research on fusion and also as a potential prototype power plant that could produce significant power. The design could produce a reactor that would provide electricity to about 100,000 people. Devices of a similar complexity and size have been built within about five years, according to the team.

  • The planned reactor will be equipped with new superconducting magnets that would enable it to operate in a sustained way, producing a steady power output, unlike today’s experimental reactors that can only operate for a few seconds at a time without overheating of copper coils.
  • “Fusion energy is certain to be the most important source of electricity on earth in the 22nd century, but we need it much sooner than that to avoid catastrophic global warming,” says David Kingham, CEO of Tokamak Energy Ltd. in the UK, who was not connected with this research.

A cutaway view of the proposed ARC reactor. Thanks to powerful new magnet technology, the much smaller, less-expensive ARC reactor would deliver the same power output as a much larger reactor. Credit: MIT ARC team


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