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The world's most powerful magnet is about to meet the world's largest experimental fusion facility.

General Atomics, an American energy and defense company, is preparing to ship the first module of the Central Solenoid, the world's most powerful magnet. It will become a vital component of ITER, which is a machine that replicates the Sun's fusion power and is one of the most ambitious energy projects ever attempted.

The project ITER is being built in southern France by 35 partner countries including China, the E.U, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the U.S.Its mission is to demonstrate that energy from hydrogen fusion can be created and managed and that the materials needed to power societies with hydrogen fusion in a carbon-free, safe, and cost-effective way are readily abundant.

 

Much like everything else, ITER's construction was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but despite that, it is almost 75 percent complete. Massive one-of-a-kind components have started to arrive in France from three continents during these last 15 months, and when assembled together, they will form the ITER Tokamak, a "sun on earth", which will demonstrate fusion at an industrial scale. Huge magnets are needed to contain the plasma in the “tokamak”, which is a vacuum-chambered fusion device.

The biggest of ITER's magnets, the Central Solenoid, will be made up of six modules and is one of the major U.S. contributions to ITER. It will be 59 feet (18 meters) tall, 14 feet (4.25 meters) wide, and weigh a thousand tons when fully built. The magnet will be used to generate a powerful current in the ITER plasma, assisting in shaping and controlling the fusion reaction during extended pulses.

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