Monthly Archives: March 2011

the ITER project

A cutaway view of the future ITER Tokamak. © ITER Organization.

Imagine if we could count on a limitless source of electricity for our houses, hospitals, cities, nations. The International Tokamak Experimental Reactor (ITER) is a research and engineering project that aims at making this a reality.

Working to translate today’s studies of plasma physics into tomorrow’s electricity-producing fusion plants, ITER addresses one of the key challenges that our civilization will have to face over the next decades: how to provide sufficient, clean energy in the context of diminishing fossil resources and increasing demand for energy.

The ITER Tokamak chamber will be twice as large as any previous tokamak, with a plasma volume of 830 cubic meters. In the subsequent fusion plant prototype DEMO and in future industrial fusion installations, the heat resulting from the fusion will be used to produce steam and—by way of turbines and alternators—electricity.

© Dale Hayward, on Vimeo.

Although safe nuclear energy should be the solution for our future needs in therms of electricity, probably we’ll never benefit of the new nuclear safe plants because in reality the tar sands boom has quickly become the world’s largest industrialized project in human history.

Plasma Flare

Accelerated capture (90 minutes, extreme ultraviolet light) of a M3.6 class plasma flare over the Sun’s surface. Credits: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory.

A coronal mass ejection (or plasma flare) happens when two oppositely aligned magnetic fields align and the stored magnetic energy is propelled out of the opposite side shooting protons and electrons into space at a speeds up to one-third the speed of light. A note on the dimension of this singular beauty: the Sun has a diameter of 1.392.000 Km hence this flare could be 30-150.000 Km wide! Also note the way the plasma comes back, attracted by the immense gravitational force – Sun’s mass is 333.000 times bigger than the one of planet Earth. Two years ago I tried to simulate the magnetic behaviour of these flares in this Processing sketch. Stimulated by this capture I feel I wish to work on a new, huge, smooth Particle Plasma Flare.