Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak fusion reactor — and it’s one that might be realized in as little as a decade, they say. The era of practical fusion power, which could offer a nearly inexhaustible energy resource, may be coming near.

A cutaway view of the proposed reactor. (Illustration courtesy of the MIT ARC team)

MIT is using these new commercially available superconductors to produce high-magnetic field coils. While the new superconductors do not produce quite a doubling of the field strength, they are strong enough to increase fusion power by about a factor of 10 compared to standard superconducting technology. This dramatic improvement leads to a cascade of potential improvements in reactor design.