Researchers at MIT's Alcator C-Mod fusion reactor are trying to make the promise of fusion as a future power source closer to reality. Physicist Yijun Lin and principal research scientist John Rice are demonstrating a method to use radio frequency waves to circulate hot plasma inside the reactor chamber, thus controlling heat loss and making for more efficient nuclear fusion.

"That's very important," said physicist Earl Marmar, division head of the Alcator Project at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). According to Marmar, present techniques to push the plasma will not work in higher-power reactors such as the planned ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) now under construction in France, so new methods must be found. The Alcator C-Mod reactor, in operation since 1993, has the highest magnetic field and highest plasma pressure of any fusion reactor in the world.

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