Fusion Tech Improvements at MIT
Fusion! Unlimited power! Superconductors! Yeah, this article is easy to dismiss as spin on fusion tech that is perpetually just ten years away. But two interesting things about this particular design:
It uses new commercially available superconductors made of rare-earth barium copper oxide (REBCO) superconducting tapes that are capable of producing high-magnetic field coils. The stronger magnetic fields generated by these coils do a better job of confining superhot plasma, so the reactor can be smaller, cheaper and take less time to build.
…the solid cladding normally wrapped around the fusion chamber has been replaced with a circulating liquid. This eliminates the need to replace the cladding as it degrades, since the liquid can simply be replaced.
Both of these improvements cover issues that constantly come up in fusion “reviews”, particularly the cladding degradation issue. Hopefully this is a significant step in the right direction.
My biggest issue with this project? They named the damn thing an ARC (affordable, robust, compact) reactor, presumably in reference to the tech in Iron Man. Ugh.