PPPL’s new tabletop stellarator uses off-the-shelf magnets

April 11, 2024, 12:08PMNuclear News
MUSE, the first stellarator to use permanent magnets. (Photo: Michael Livingston/PPPL Communications)

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory are using a stellarator they designed and built using permanent rare-earth magnets and a 3D-printed shell to help test new fusion power concepts. MUSE—the first stellarator built at PPPL in 50 years—took one year to construct and generated its first plasma in February 2023. The work that went into its design has already inspired a stellarator power plant concept being developed by a commercial spin-off, Thea Energy.

Fusion power? Yes!

October 12, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear NewsKen Petersen

Ken Petersen

I have jumped on the fusion power bandwagon! Power from fusion is going to happen. When I look at it, there are several factors that reinforce this. Technology has advanced and moved from basic science/research to engineering solutions. Several breakthroughs in supportive technologies have made fusion power plants a possibility. Finally—and most importantly—the private sector is heavily involved and investing to help move engineering solutions forward. This has resulted in a few dozen fusion companies developing different technologies with the same power generation goals. It is very reminiscent of the development of LW fission reactors in the 1950s and ’60s.

Technology has advanced in regard to materials and especially high-temperature superconducting magnets, high-energy lasers, and computer modeling. These improvements have allowed machines to become smaller and achieve the density, temperature, and time needed for fusion to occur.