Science Alive! Episode 2: Tokamak Fusion Reactor

Tokamak fusion reactor

Nuclear power without the dangerous radiation. The tantalizing dream of the Tokamak Reactor, on this edition of Science Alive!

To celebrate Talk Energy Week, Dave dives behind the scenes with curator Anna Adamek to discover the electrifying stories behind some of our energy artifacts in the collection.

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nuclear power without the dangerous
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radiation the tantalizing dream of the
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tokamak reactor on this edition of
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science alive and it's Anna adamak she's
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a curator of natural resources here at
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Science and Technology museums of Canada
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we're wearing gloves and standing part
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of a dream what's the dream we're in
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front of the dream is the dream of
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nuclear fusion we are in front of
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tokamak Canada's nuclear fusion reactor
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now nuclear fusion that's different than
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what a nuclear reactor is there are two
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types of nuclear reactor nuclear fusion
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reactor which fuses together nuclear
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nuclear okay and nuclear fusion reactors
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which break atoms apart right we are in
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front of the nuclear fusion reactor so
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the dream is it will produce electricity
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differently than what we do now yes it
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would produce huge amounts of clean and
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inexpensive energy so no radiation no
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radiation no radioactive waste very
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little fuel and how old is this dream
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well the dream is goes back to 1940s
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early 1950s but in Canada actually this
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nuclear reactor went online in 1984 now
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this is a great big huge science
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experiment how do you build a tokamak
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tokamak is basically a doughnut shaped
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steel container okay it has to be made
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of very high-quality steel you can see
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how shiny and polished the steel is no
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this is because we have to ensure that
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we achieve vacuum inside this container
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in so inside the tokamak you have
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magnets this magnet allow us to create
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in the vacuum electromagnetic field and
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that field contains very very hot plasma
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and allows it to circulate very fast and
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the plasma so when this thing will be up
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and running would it be glowing and we'd
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be seeing you would see some glow from
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it you would see the plasma quickly
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circulating inside right until it
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achieves fusion and the construction of
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this like each each individual bolt how
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much would that have cost to make duct
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trade this is something that's very
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interest
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for a historian of Technology to look at
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it is this physical artifact and we can
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look at different elements so each of
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those screwed cost about two to three
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hundred dollars each of the windows
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would cost about $500 we can see which
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parts were custom-made which parts were
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ordered from catalogs we can also see
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different notations that peopled left on
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the machine itself so it shows us that
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relationship between scientists and the
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Machine one of the scientists actually
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signed his name signed his name on it
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and what happened here and this doesn't
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look like stainless steel to me so this
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to me is a proof that there was a vacuum
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leak okay in the industry which would be
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a serious problem right and it has been
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quite crudely repelled great now the
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vision of tokamak is to generate clean
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electricity how far away do you think we
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are from this overall global experiment
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ever being finished I think we still had
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a way to go
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we do see that there were we see
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splatter of plasma in inside the tokamak
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so we know that plasma was circulating
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there at a very high speed we also see
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little snowflakes that tell us that
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there was electrical discharge but there
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is no evidence about the occlusion right
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so the experiment continues if the
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experiment continues Anna thank you for
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explaining the talk about touch thank
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you

Author(s)
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Canada Science and Technology Museum