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20th Anniversary of world-record DT shot

December 2013 is a time to remember an important milestone reached in fusion research two decades ago. Around one hundred people witnessed the TFTR's first D-T campaign in the control room of Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) inside Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, reaching a world record production of fusion power at the time.

On this particular day - Dec. 9, 1993 - the TFTR produced a burst of more than 3 megawatts of fusion power. The record was established because it was the first time that TFTR used a fuel consisting of equal parts of deuterium and triutium. The experiment doubled the previous record for fusion power produced on Earth two years prior of 1.7 megawatts produced by the Joint European Torus (JET) in England. The world's first deuterium-tritium experiment however took place at JET in 1991 and produced 1.5 MW of power.

In the 15 year of operation, TFTR achieved several advances in confinement time and energy density, and contributed to the scientific knowledge base. TFTR operated from 1982 to 1997, and was followed up by the NSTX spherical tokamak. The old record was exceeded at JET in the UK again in 1997, when it generated 16MW for 22MW input, which is still the current record today.

The control room the night Princeton Plasma Physics Lab achieved world record-breaking fusion energy. [Courtesy of Jeanne Jackson DeVoe]

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