From seconds to eternity: AI overcomes key obstacles to thermonuclear dreams

Smart technology can help solve one of the biggest energy problems Scientists working on nuclear fusion say they have discovered a way to solve one of today’s biggest energy challenges with the help of artificial intelligence. For decades, nuclear fusion has been considered a near-inexhaustible source of clean energy as a potential solution to climate change. But so far, experts have been able to sustain thermonuclear reactions for only a few seconds. This process is highly unstable. Additionally, there are other unresolved issues. Fusion energy powers the sun and other stars. Scientists have been trying to contain it on Earth for decades. He, which in normal conditions repel each other, is emitted when two atomic nuclei fuse. This is the opposite process to nuclear fission, which is based on the splitting of atoms, and is now widely used in many fields because it is as simple as possible to perform. There are several approaches to achieving nuclear fusion, but the most common method is to use hydrogen compounds as fuel and heat them to extremely high temperatures inside a tokamak. This produces plasma, which is a soup-like, aggregated state. However, plasma is difficult to control. The plasma can break away from the strong magnetic field boundaries of the system that is trying to contain it. On February 21, Nature published the results of a study by scientists at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. They developed an AI-based method to predict and prevent plasma instability in real time. During an experiment at a nuclear fusion facility in San Diego, an AI controller was able to predict the likelihood of an explosion 300 milliseconds before it occurred. Without such intervention, the response would have stopped abruptly. “This result lays the foundation for the application of AI to various plasma instabilities that have long prevented the emergence of fusion energy,” commented Professor Princeton. Egemen Colemen, co-author of the study, said the results represent a major advance in the field of nuclear fusion. “One of the biggest challenges in developing commercial fusion reactors is the instability of the plasma and its discontinuities,” he explains. “Industrial applications require stable continuous operation over many years.” AI-based control techniques are expected to produce reactors with long service lives and high reliability. British scientists recently set a record by producing 69 megajoules of energy in 5 seconds using just 0.2 mg of fuel. This is enough to power 12,000 homes. In another experiment, US researchers succeeded for the first time in producing pure thermonuclear energy by repeatedly igniting a plasma. But despite progress, industrial applications of fusion energy are still a long way off, far beyond the deadline when experts believe greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to prevent climate change. Over. Scientists say urgent action is needed over the next decade.