Russian, Italian scientists to discuss construction of Ignitor reactor

Russian and Italian scientists will on June 20-21 discuss the possibility to construct Ignitor fusion reactor in Russia, the director of Russia’s national research center Kurchatov Institute said on Saturday.

“A meeting with our Italian partners will be held on Monday and Tuesday,” he said on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.

Originally designed by Italian scientists, Ignitor is a variant of tokamak fusion reactor. It is the brainchild of Bruno Coppi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who worked on MIT’s Alcator tokamaks from the 1970s until the present day.

A tokamak is a doughnut-shaped vessel in which researchers use powerful magnet fields to squeeze and heat a plasma of hydrogen isotopes until the nuclei fuse together forming helium and releasing large amounts of heat. Ignitor is several times smaller than tomahawk but with a stronger magnetic field.

The ultimate goal is to achieve “ignition,” the point at which the fusion reactions themselves provide enough energy to keep the process running without an external heat source, and excess energy is siphoned off to convert into electricity. Ignitor reactor could be the world’s first to reach fusion ignition and perhaps paving the way for eventual power production.

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