The world's largest 'JT-60SA' experimental tokamak-type superconducting plasma thermonuclear fusion device, located at the National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology (QST) (President, Shigeo Koyasu) in Naka City, Ibaraki Prefecture, has successfully generated tokamak plasma for the first time. JT-60SA was developed in parallel with the ITER project 'Research and development status on fusion DEMO reactor design under the Broader Approach under the Broader Approach.' Currently, it is the world's largest experimental tokamak-type superconducting plasma fusion device, jointly constructed by Japan and Europe.
The integrated test operation of JT-60SA was suspended in March 2021 because of insulation damage at the joints between the superconducting coils and power line. Repairs were completed in December 2022, and the integrated test operation resumed in May this year. After the cooling and energization tests of the superconducting coils were performed, tokamak plasma was generated for the first time at around 17:30 on October 23. This demonstrated that each component worked well and functioned as a system, thereby achieving a major milestone under the Broader Approach.
This achievement is a major step toward the realization of a fusion DEMO reactor, which will be built based on the results of JT-60SA and ITER to demonstrate the power generation and economic viability of nuclear fusion.
Minister for Science and Technology Policy Sanae Takaichi commented, "The successful generation of the first plasma is a significant achievement that will lead to the early realization of fusion energy. During the CSTI plenary session in June this year, I witnessed both Japanese and European researchers working very hard to realize the first plasma. I am very pleased that the efforts of these researchers have borne fruit. Based on the success of this first plasma generation, we would like to do our best for the development of fusion energy and its related industries, while fundamentally strengthening research and development and involving the industrial community to establish an industrial council."
This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd. (https://sci-news.co.jp/). Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.