Physics World's largest stellarator nuclear fusion machine to start up soon

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For more than 60 years, scientists have dreamed of a clean, inexhaustible energy source in the form of nuclear fusion. And they’re still dreaming.

But thanks to the efforts of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, experts hope that might soon change. Last year, after 1.1 million construction hours, the institute completed the world’s largest nuclear fusion machine of its kind, called a stellarator.

They call this 16-metre (52-foot) wide machine the W7-X. [...]
More: Germany’s about to switch on a revolutionary nuclear fusion machine (1. November 2015)

The article says it could potentially be started up before the end of this month, November 2015. It sounds like it could spur an energy revolution if they could make it work.
 
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I read that the German stellarator is only a few days away from start-up.

Meanwhile, optimism around fusion energy is growing around the world:

 
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Indian Summer

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Everything is going according to plan so far!
A successful start with helium plasma / hydrogen plasma to follow at the beginning of 2016

December 10, 2015

On 10th December 2015 the first helium plasma was produced in the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald. After more than a year of technical preparations and tests, experimental operation has now commenced according to plan. Wendelstein 7-X, the world’s largest stellarator-type fusion device, will investigate the suitability of this type of device for a power station.
More: The first plasma: the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device is now in operation (10. December 2015)

Here's a short video explaining the differences between the tokamak and stellarator designs for creating and sustaining a nuclear fusion reaction:
 

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Well good...............but I guess we will all have to wait and see.

I have worried about energy sources since I was around nine........I would really like to see oilgae take off as well....but that relies on the Sun...if the Sun is ever blocked off for some reason, a meteor or Yellowstone Park blowing up, then fusion could keep the lights on.
 

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I understand that fusion reactors could be built several year ago. The issue was that the energy input was greater than the output, making them inefficient.

Has this problem been solved? If not, then it's just an academic achievement.
 
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Indian Summer

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I understand that fusion reactors could be built several year ago. The issue was that the energy input was greater than the output, making them inefficient.

Has this problem been solved? If not, then it's just an academic achievement.
I think they are still working on it. If I understand correctly, the tokamak approach to fusion energy can only sustain a nuclear reaction for up to 7 minutes whereas the stellarator will be able to keep it going indefinitely. So if they can make the stellarator do that, then presumably energy output will be "infinitely" higher than the input.
 
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Update:
In a study published in the latest edition of the journal Nature Communications, researchers working on the proof-of-concept stellarator, named Wendelstein 7-X, said that the experimental device is working with “unprecedented accuracy.”

“The carefully tailored topology of nested magnetic surfaces needed for good confinement is realized, and that the measured deviations are smaller than one part in 100,000,” the researchers wrote in the study. “This is a significant step forward in stellarator research, since it shows that the complicated and delicate magnetic topology can be created and verified with the required accuracy.”
More: Nuclear Fusion: Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X ‘Stellarator’ Is Operating As Expected (7. December 2016)
 
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Someone at work who had been to a talk about nuclear fusion said we probably wouldn't see nuclear fusion energy in commercial use until 2040. I hope that turns out to be a much too conservative estimate ...
 
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Here's an article that estimates successful nuclear fusion power stations are 10 years into the future:
Nuclear fusion: what's taking so long? | TechRadar

It says increased computing power is helping, whereas staff shortages due to lack of people with plasma physics skills, and slow bureaucracy, are the main obstacles.
 
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