Alternatives to Iter nuclear fusion

Here are the alternatives to ITER nuclear fusion:

The Z Machine

It is a pulsed X-ray generator. This technology can reach billions of degrees. Powers achieved:

1996: 200TW,
1997: 290TW, temperature: 1.8 million degrees,
2003: fusion of deuterium, temperature: 11.6 million degrees,
2006: an accidental plasma that reaches 2 billion degrees,
2006: ionic temperatures of 2 to 3 billion degrees,

The Z machine will eventually allow the fusion of hydrogen atoms with lithium or boron atoms, and thus a clean fusion, without emission of radioactivity, unlike deuterium and tritium. It is operated by a subsidiary of the Honeywell Group, an American nuclear specialist.

Other machines using the same method of generator of high pulsed powers: ZR Machine (USA), QiangGuang-I (China), Sphinx (France), MagPie (UK), GIT-12 (Russia).

The ZR Machine

The ZR Machine is an update of the Z Machine. With 50% more power, even more powerful Marx generators. It was built in 2007. It is capable of sending a shot of 26 million amperes, against 18 million amperes previously, in 95 nanoseconds. The radiated power then reaches the 350TW, the energy X-Ray the 2.7 mega joules. The new temperature obtained since has not been revealed.

For comparison, with ITER we will have a power of 500MW and “only” 150 million degrees. The sun heats to 1 million degrees under its crust.

There is a real war with the temperature among the different countries launched in the race for the MHD.

The ZN Machine

This is the version that will follow the ZR Machine, to increase even more the potential. It should be able to release more than 20-30 megajoules of molten hydrogen power. Marx generators will be replaced by Russian linear transformer drivers (LTDs).

After 8-10 years of operation, the engineers hope to have a test center capable of sending “fusion shots” every hundred seconds.

The Z-IFE Machine

This is the final version of the Z Machine. Expected to reach 1PW of power. 1 petawat equals 1 million GW; Earth currently has about 7,000 GW of power with coal plants, hydro, natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind, … It will use the final versions of Sandia LTDs. The electric discharge will be 70 million amperes. In theory, a discharge between 60 and 70 million amperes generates an energy output of 100 to 1000 times higher in terms of return.

According to the latest rumors, the designers of the Z Machine were in 2013 manipulating about 26-27 million amperes.

The Z-IFE Machine will be the first prototype of a Z-pinch driven fusion power plant.


This gear uses magnetized targeted fusion. At the moment, 1.5 megajoules of energy drive 1.5 million amps in magnetic field coils around a 10 cm diameter quartz tube, with 2.3 million degrees for 15 μs. This project is funded by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, part of the United States Department of Energy.


This system is similar to the FRX-L, it works with a coating compression zone called Shiva Star. The temperature is 50-60 million degrees.

The General Fusion

Another concept that abrades the magnetized targeted fusion. It is funded by Amazon. In 2016, General Fusion was able to display a temperature of 5 million degrees for 2 milliseconds. Lithium circulates in a circuit combining vortex and sphere.

The Wendelstein 7-X

This device is based on the Wendelstein stellarator model. The magnetic field line follows a twisted (toric) path. In 2015, an experimental generator reached 1 million degrees with a helium plasma; in 2016: 80 million degrees with a hydrogen plasma. This project is mainly financed by Germany. According to the designers, the Wendelstein 7-X could have a hydrogen plasma discharge lasting 30 minutes.


This is the collision beam fusion reactor. This project is funded by, among others, Google and Microsoft. The C-2 model reached nearly 5 million degrees in 2010 for 3 milliseconds. In 2015, the C-2U had touched him 10 million degrees for 5 milliseconds.

The goal is to create a nuclear power plant the size of a truck with a power of 100MW.

Other concepts

Inertial confinement fusion (HYLIFE-II, Sombrero), magnetic confinement fusion (START, NSTX, MAST, Globus-M), nuclear propulsion of catalyzed antimatter (CERN), bubble fusion, fusion aneutronics, the megajoule laser (National Ignition Facility [NIF], French Laser Megajoule), the magnetic mirror (TMX, TMX-U), the tokamaks (Tore Supra, JET, JT-60, T-15, STX, ITER, ARC fusion reactor), laser fusion (Novette, Nova, Nike, Omega EP System), pyroelectric fusion (HiPER), magnetic inertial fusion (MagLIF), compact torus plasma, reverse field configuration (LSX machine ), dense plasma focus (AAAPT, IPFS, ICDMP, Pladema, Speed-2, INTI Plasma Focus, NX3, KSU, IR-MPF-100), polywell (HEPS, EMC-2, WB-6, WB- 7), the high-beta fusion reactor (Lockheed Martin T-4, T4B, TX), spheromak.

In 2012, the NIF announced having obtained a 500TW energy jet. In 2013, they had more energy output than that injected at the start.

Lockheed Martin’s expects to be able to offer a 10MW fusion reactor the size of a fission reactor similar to the one of a submarine.

A solution to the problem of energy on Earth within 15 years?

At least Bill Gates’ opinion is investing in the sector. According to him, nuclear fusion will be in place within 15 years. While the ITER engineers agree that it will take maybe 1 century or even a century and a half, because they intend to multiply the power every ten years to have sufficient capacity and the construction of each plant test is a gargantuan task to perform.

If these technologies deliver such power, with such a temperature, then why do not we use them already? Because, as for ITER, for the moment we are able to maintain the plasma only for a few seconds. While it should be preserved for at least 1 minute to transmit energy in large format batteries.

Or it would be necessary that the batteries are able to store these jets of energies in less than 2-3 seconds, an evolution that is unlikely to materialize before the end of the century.

It is therefore necessary to constantly increase the power of the prototypes to be able to send enough energy and that the final plasma is large enough to last about 100 seconds or more.

Deep Space Exploration

The compact nuclear fusion reactors will also allow humans to send astronauts beyond the solar system, until we are able to fold the space-time continuum.