This visualization was created using simulations run on the supercomputers at the National Center of Computational Sciences and shows the expected operation of the ITER fusion reactor. This reactor is currently being built by a global coalition in Cadarache, France and is expected to begin the first experiments in 2020. To produce fusion reactions, the fuel must be heated to a temperature of over one hundred and fifty million degrees — more than ten times the temperature of the sun’s core. An initial plasma is formed and heated by driving an electric current through the fuel gas in the tokamak chamber. When the plasma reaches a sufficient density and temperature, the injectors are turned on. These very energetic beam ions are trapped by the magnetic field and circulate throughout the plasma, colliding with the plasma particles and transferring energy to them. As the temperature of the plasma rises, reactions between the plasma deuterium and tritium begin to occur.
This research used resources of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725.