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I first heard about the Tokamak in highschool 10 years ago and was wondering how far the technology has come since then. Can it sustain a reaction for more than a few seconds? Are these devices still huge or have they been made on a smaller scale?

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I suppose you've already checked the wikipedia list? –  Marek Jul 19 '11 at 16:37
    
@Marek: Yes, I was looking for more of an intuitive idea of how successful these devices are. –  Joe Jul 19 '11 at 16:41
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more seriously, ITER should be operative by 2018, but there is skepticism that you can reach breakeven, that is, that it will be able to produce more energy than it consumes, with tokamak technology –  lurscher Jul 19 '11 at 16:50
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Can it sustain a reaction for more than a few seconds?

Yes, at JET. Lifetime of the plasma: 20–60 s

At ITER: It will operate over a wide range of ITER plasma scenarios, from short plasma pulses (a few hundred seconds) with enlarged fusion power (700 MW) to long plasma pulses of 3,000 s

Are these devices still huge or have they been made on a smaller scale?

They have to be large in order to give out more energy than they consume. This is the ITER link, the one planned and already being built, to get the size idea.

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