After being turned on for the first time, the UK’s newest fusion reactor has achieved first plasma. This simply means that the reactor was able to successfully generate a molten mass of electrically-charged gas — plasma — inside its core. Called the ST40, the reactor was constructed by Tokamak Energy, one of the leading private fusion energy companies in the world. The company was founded in 2009 with the express purpose of designing and developing small fusion reactors to introduce fusion power into the grid by 2030. Now that the ST40 is running, the company will commission and install the complete set of magnetic coils needed to reach fusion temperatures. The ST40 should be creating a plasma temperature as hot as the center of the Sun — 15 million degrees Celsius (27 million degrees Fahrenheit) — by Autumn 2017.
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