Coconut nuclear power on the horizon

Posted by Nigel Constantine

Coconut shell charcoal is the key to what could become the first commercially viable Tokamak fusion power electrical generating facility near Cadarache in the south of France.

According to Hplus Magazine, Tokamak is a type of magnetic confinement device for producing controlled thermonuclear fusion power and the coconut charcoal is an environmental sponge that “adsorbs” the helium and hydrogen byproducts of the thermonuclear fusion reaction.

The fusion power produced by ITER will be at least 10 times greater than the external power delivered to heat the plasma and it will cost $10 billion.

In ITER, the fusion reaction is achieved in Tokamak using magnetic fields to contain and control hot plasma. The fuel which is a brew of deuterium and tritium, is heated to temperatures in excess of 150 million° C, forming helium and neutrons in addition to the hot plasma.

A helium nucleus carries an electric charge that responds to the magnetic fields of the Tokamak, and remains confined within the plasma. Approximately 80 percent of the energy produced is carried away from the plasma by neutrons which are absorbed by the surrounding walls of the Tokamak, transferring their energy to the walls as heat.

This is when your average coconut becomes vital. They will be used to generate a cooling vacuum essential to ITER's operation. It is not clear if the coconuts have to be carried to the plant by an African or English Swallow. But it could turn countries famous for their coconuts into important players in the energy industry.