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Visit to JET

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:34 am
by Tom McCarthy
JET - Joint European Torus operates out of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, CCFE in the U.K. It's between Cambridge and London. Mega Ampere Spherical Tokamak, MAST, also operates out of CCFE. It's a huge campus and JET is the largest fusion experiment in the world, I think. Excluding perhaps the Wendelstein Stellerator and not counting ITER that is...

JET consumes so much power that they have to call up the power people and check if it's ok to turn on. They're not allowed to turn on around 5PM on Winter evenings because there are so many people coming home and turning on the heat. They have two 750 ton flywheels to store power.

I was invited for a tour after a talk I gave a year or two ago, and visited with my family in January of this year. It was a fantastic experience to see the scale of work done, and the resources available. I even spotted a shiny Leybold backing pump in one side room, would have liked to bring it home.

They have a nice demo Fusor in CCFE. People get time and money allowances for relevant side projects, and one was a portable fusion device to cart around and raise awareness of fusion. The device is demo because it has a pretty much the same visual effect for their purposes, no need to actually fuse! Their biggest problem was vacuum leaks, no surprises there huh. It uses a dry scroll pump rather than a rotary vane.

The people there were extremely kind and helpful. I didn't see any experiment in progress, but to see all the equipment was a fantastic experience.