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Dec 14, 2015

First plasma from Wendelstein 7-X fusion reactor

Posted by in category: physics

Testing of the Wendelstein 7-x stellarator has started with a bang, albeit a very very small one, with researchers switching on the experimental fusion reactor to produce its first helium plasma at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald, Germany. After almost a decade of construction work and more than a million assembly hours, the first tests have gone according to plan with the researchers to shift focus to producing hydrogen plasma after the new year.

Assembly of the Wendelstein 7-x stellarator was completed in April of last year, and after a period of careful testing of its various components, the science team finally flicked the switch on December 10. This saw around a single milligram of helium gas heated to one million degrees Celsius (1.8 million° F), with the flash observed on cameras and measuring devices for one tenth of a second.

“We’re very satisfied”, said Dr. Hans-Stephan Bosch, division head of Wendelstein 7-X, following the December 10 test. “Everything went according to plan.”

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