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TOKAMAK. The Texas Experimental Tokamak is the second major device built at the University of Texas at Austin for fusion research. Completed in 1980 TEXT replaced the Texas Turbulent Tokamak, which had begun experiments in 1971 as the first fusion experiment in Texas. Fusion research began after the development of the first hydrogen bomb as the effort to harness the enormous energy of hydrogen fusion, which powers both stars and the H-bomb, for peaceful purposes. The fuel supply for fusion is limitless, and fusion offers the potential of electric power with minimal, manageable radioactive waste, no production of greenhouse gases, and no possibility of disastrous accident. The fusion reaction requires temperatures above 100,000,000° F to proceed efficiently. Obtaining such extreme conditions has been the focus of fusion research. Tokamaks, doughnut-shaped devices with a special configuration of magnetic fields as developed by the Russians in the 1960s, have proven to be the most successful technique for reaching fusion conditions. The Texas program has been a partnership between the university, the Texas Atomic Energy Research Foundation (an association of investor-owned utilities in Texas), and the Department of Energy. The first tokamak explored novel techniques for reaching high temperatures. TEXT concentrates on understanding the basic physical processes that control the temperature in fusion devices. The basic tokamak occupies the space of a carnival carousel; together with ancillary equipment, the $15 million facility fills a laboratory the size of a large gymnasium. TEXT employs several powerful techniques for studying high-temperature hydrogen that are possible on no other tokamak in the world. It attracts scientists from across the country. The Texas program is part of an international endeavor with major facilities in Europe and Japan as well as Princeton and San Diego in the United States.
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