Overview on MAST Upgrade’s first plasma shot

The MAST-Upgrade tokamak commenced operation with its first plasma at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, the United Kingdom on 29 October 2020. As a result of the seven-year upgrade programme for the Mega Ampere Spherical Tokamak (MAST), essentially a complete new fusion device was built with a stronger magnetic field and higher heating power.

Prof. Ian Chapman, the chief executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority said: “MAST Upgrade will take us closer to delivering sustainable, clean fusion energy. This experiment will break new ground and test technology that has never been tried before. It will be a vital testing facility on our journey to delivering the STEP fusion power plant.

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Applications are now open for IAEA’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme to Push for More Women in Nuclear

Source: IAEA

The IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme (MSCFP) seeks to inspire and support young women to pursue a career in nuclear science and technology, nuclear safety and security, or non-proliferation. The application process has opened for female students interested in applying for a scholarship from the programme towards their Master’s degrees in nuclear science and technology, nuclear safety and security or non-proliferation.

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Proton irradiation decelerates corrosion in structural materials from a molten salt reactor

Beam-facing side comparison regions of Ni-20Cr samples. Schematic of the irradiated (in orange) and unirradiated (in green). Zones and SEM images of the beam-facing side of the Ni-20Cr foils after 4 h at 650 °C at a beam current density of 2.5 μA/cm^2. Scale bar: 200 μm. Image adapted from Nat.Comm. 11 (2020) 3430.

Radiation nearly always deteriorates the materials exposed to it, requiring replacement of key components in high-radiation environments such as nuclear reactors. But for certain alloys that could be used in fission or fusion reactors, the opposite turns out to be true: Researchers from MIT and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have now found that instead of hastening the material’s degradation, radiation actually improves its resistance, potentially doubling the material’s useful lifetime. This finding came as a surprise to nuclear scientists and can be potentially used in new fusion reactors designs. The work lead by Weiyue Zhou and Prof. Michael Short have been recently published in Nature Communications.

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Assembly of ITER begins

Celebrating the beginning of ITER assembly. (Source: ITER)

First-of-a-kind components have been arriving in recent months at the ITER construction site in Cadarache, France, from the 35 ITER member countries around the world. The arrival on July 21 of the first sector of the ITER vacuum vessel from South Korea marked the beginning of a four-and-a-half year machine assembly process for the world’s largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as an energy source.

On July 28, technical and civil leaders from ITER member countries celebrated the beginning of assembly with a global event hosted virtually by French President Emmanuel Macron and livestreamed on YouTube.

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