Past Seminars Seminários Já Decorridos 2010

Nuclear fusion: challenges for tomorrows energy

By: Bruno Gonçalves
From: IST
At: Complexo Interdisciplinar, Anfiteatro
[2010-04-07] 11:30

The world population will grow from 6 billion now to about 9 billion fifty years from now. With an increasing world population and a growing economy, the demand for energy is sure to grow being a major challenge to provide affordable, clean and safe energy sources. New solutions will be required for providing a targeted answer to both the energy demand and the emission problems associated with our present energy system.

Fusion energy, the energy source of the universe, the process that powers the sun and the stars, has seen remarkable progress over the last decades, and is now ready to move out of the laboratory, and to be considered as a credible energy option for clean, large-scale power generation. Scientists from all over the world are committed to the development of fusion power on earth, as it offers the prospect of a long-term, safe, environmentally benign energy option to meet the energy needs of a growing world population. Achieving this aim requires a sustained, long-term and large scale research effort, which would be impossible to sustain for any single European country. That is why all the Member states of the European Union collaborate in a single European research programme, which is coordinated by the European Commission.

The seminar will provide an introduction to fusion, the rational to its development and demonstrate the main advantages of fusion energy as a source for electricity production. It will also present the state-of-art in the field and the physics and technology activities performed in EU laboratories. Emphasis will be given to the EU success on the exploitation of the worlds largest fusion experiment, the Joint European Torus (JET) in the UK. The importance of next generation fusion reactor, ITER, for the nuclear fusion research as well as its technical challenges will also be introduced. Focus will also be given to the achievements of the Portuguese participation in the European Fusion Programme.