Physics

Watch Germany Switch On Its Experimental Fusion Reactor LIVE

February 3, 2016 | by Robin Andrews

Photo credit: Wendelstein 7-X (W7X) reactor. IPP/Thorsten Bräuer

Germany is poised to make a major scientific breakthrough in the field of nuclear fusion. Its Wendelstein 7-X (W7X) experimental fusion reactor is about to be injected with hydrogen, where scientists will hope to turn it into a sustained, super-hot plasma. If successful, it will be a world first, and it is being streamed live from 1:45 p.m. GMT (8:45 a.m. EST).

Ignition is expected at 2:35 p.m. GMT (9:35 a.m. EST). We've provided the live stream below for you to watch.

The fusion reactor, which aims to replicate the conditions deep inside our Sun, will be switched on by German chancellor Angela Merkel – who herself has a doctorate in physics. Although workable nuclear fusion is likely to be several decades away, this experiment represents a key stepping stone towards this goal. Controlled nuclear fusion – a clean, near-perpetual source of energy – would revolutionize the world. 

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