University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT), engineers have made a giant step toward making this scenario a reality.
UT researchers have successfully developed a key technology in developing an experimental reactor that can demonstrate the feasibility of fusion energy for the power grid. Nuclear fusion promises to supply more energy than the nuclear fission used today but with far fewer risks.
Since 2008, UT engineering professors and about fifteen students have worked inside UT’s Magnet Development Laboratory (MDL) located off of Pellissippi Parkway to develop technology that serves to insulate and provide structural integrity to the more than 1,000 ton central solenoid.
Mechanical, aerospace, and biomedical engineering professors David Irick, Madhu Madhukar, and Masood Parang are engaged in a project involving the United States, five other nations, and the European Union, known as ITER. UT researchers completed a critical step for the project by successfully testing their technology that will insulate and stabilize the central solenoid—the reactor’s backbone.