On 20 May, the world will witness a welcome staging post in the quest to develop nuclear fusion, when Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics switches on the Wendelstein 7-X, an earth-bound machine built to mimic the way in which stars generate energy.
The project is part of the German national fusion research program but has received significant support at nearly 30 percent of the total cost from the EU’s Euratom program.
Despite its schedule slipping eight years, from 2006 to 2014, and the cost doubling from an original EUR 500 million to more than EUR 1 billion, the anticipation among fusion scientists is palpable.
Eventually, it is hoped, the Wendelstein 7-X will provide a baseline for a future commercial power plant that like the sun and the stars derives energy from the fusion of atomic nuclei.
Read more on the Science-Business website.