The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER for short), a partnership of 35 countries has announced that they are halfway to reaching "first plasma". Reportedly the reactor is expected to be producing plasma, the key component for fusion reactors to work, by 2025.
Most experimental fusion reactors use a tokamak, which is a superheated donut-shaped device surrounded by superconducting magnets that control the plasma inside. It’s basically a steam engine — the heat generated by the reaction is absorbed by the walls of the reactor and used to produce steam for electricity generation.
It takes a lot of power to create fusion, and the challenge is to make the reaction self-sustaining so it produces more power than is put into it. There are other fusion reactors in operation, but ITER is the largest, with ten times more plasma capacity than any other reactor. Still, it’s just a prototype. If successful, commercial fusion reactors would produce 10 to 15 times more power.
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