In a major scientific achievement, European researchers at the Joint European Torus (JET) facility have set a new world energy record of 69 megajoules released in sustained and controlled fusion energy
The result came as part of an experimental campaign to verify operating scenarios for future fusion machines, under conditions as close as possible to those in ITER and future fusion power plants. The result was made possible through the dedication of the international team of scientists and engineers at JET and reflects the central role that JET has played in accelerating the development of fusion energy.
Using advanced scenarios to structure and control their plasma, the researchers set a new fusion energy record of 69.26 megajoules of heat released during a single pulse in JET. Released over six seconds from only 0.21 milligrams of fuel, the energy record equals the energy released from burning 2 kilograms of coal. The JET record is 20 times the amount of energy released in a recent shot at the U.S. National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in October 2023, which used a different approach to fusion to produce more energy than was absorbed by the fuel pellet. The new achievement by the EUROfusion team breaks their previous world records of 59 megajoules (2022) and 22.7 megajoules (1997), which were also set at JET. The scientists at JET were able to reliably reproduce the necessary fusion conditions for the new record in multiple experimental pulses, demonstrating the understanding and control they have achieved over the complex fusion processes.
Dr Fernanda Rimini, JET Senior Exploitation Manager, JET Scientific Operations Leader, said:
“We can reliably create fusion plasmas using the same fuel mixture to be used by commercial fusion energy powerplants, showcasing the advanced expertise developed over time.”