The UK’s newest nuclear fusion reactor has turned on and generated plasma for the first time.
The ‘ST40’ reactor aims to produce a record-breaking plasma temperature of 100 million degrees, seven times hotter than the centre of the Sun and the heat necessary for controlled fusion.
It was developed by Tokamak Energy, one of the world’s leading private fusion energy ventures.
The company hopes the reactor will prove the vital point that commercially viable fusion power can be produced in compact spherical tokamaks.
It plans to produce first electricity by 2025 and commercially viable fusion power by 2030.
By using smaller units, the firm has proven development can be made much faster than previously thought possible with conventional large-scale tokamak devices.
Dr David Kingham, CEO of Tokamak Energy, said: “Today is an important day for fusion energy development in the UK and the world. We are unveiling the first world class controlled fusion device to have been designed, built and operated by a private venture.
“The ST40 is a machine that will show fusion temperatures – 100 million degrees – are possible in compact, cost-effective reactors. This will allow fusion power to be achieved in years, not decades.”
An experimental nuclear fusion project in the UK is to receive £21 million in funding.