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Tandem Fusion Reactor


Plasma-Physical D3He Fusion Tandem Reactor Model.

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-ENG/Reactor Engineering and NPP/Fission Reactors

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Kurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • University of Tsukuba / Plasma Research Center, Japan, Tsukuba\nUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison / Fusion Technology Institute, USA, WI, Madison

Project summary

The fuel and energy production situation in the world does not leave doubts that a significant rise in the nuclear energy use will be in the 21-st century. Therefore it is necessary to be worried about a reduction in the radiation hazard of reactors and to reduce the amount of long-lived high radioactive wastes.

The radiation hazard related with the maintenance and with the fuel cycles of both heavy nuclei fission and the deuterium-tritium fusion reactors can not be completely eliminated and will always disquiet the society. An analysis shows that the D3He-fusion reaction can result, in difference from the DT-reaction, in the power production with the radiation hazard many orders of magnitude (maybe million times?) lower than power production using the fission and DT-fusion reactors.

The proposed Project task is to find out, on the basis of calculaional-theoretical analysis, whether the plasma, physics laws allow the completely axially-symmetric tandem mirror reactor with radial magnetic plasma confinement and with longitudinal plasma confinement by high (about ±300 kV) ambipolar barriers to be the best D3He-fusion reactor modification.

Advantages of a tandem completely-axisymmetric reactor-justifying the realization of the proposed Project - are: simplicity and cheapness of the magnetic coil system, absence of plasma currents which can cause the island structure of the magnetic field with enchanced transversal losses, simple and reliable solution to the pertor problems, absence of the phenomena similar to the disruptive instability in tokamaks what simplify the first wall design, high accessible b-values and as a result, high power density in the plasma, stationary mode of operation, simple connection of the direct converters providing a high electricity production efficiency.

The most important characteristic which determines the system applicability for the plasma confinement in the D3He-reactor is the accessible b-value (ratio of the plasma pressure to the magnetic field one) at which the MHD-plasma stability is retained. At low b-values the power radiated from the plasma exceeds the power of D3He-fusion, and the reaction cannot sustain itself. The fusion reaction power density is proportional to b2 and therefore, with a rise in b, the commercial competitive capacity of the reactor is increased. The highest - attained in tokamaks - average <b>=0.14 (DIII-D); <b>=0.75-0.95 is attained in FRC; <b>=1 is attained in the magnetic mirror trap 2XIIB.

The receiving of b equal up to 0.9 in the central cell of the tandem mirror reactor and corresponding crossfield transports will be analyzed in the Project.

In the experiments at GAMMA-10 the central cell plasma diffusion coefficient across the magnetic field is tenfold smaller than that in tokamaks and in FRC. The longitudinal confinement thousand-times better than that with magnetic mirrors has been demonstrated. However, the main parameter, ntETi, is still smaller by three orders of magnitude than that of a reactor. Because of that the extrapolation of experimental scalings to the reactors is still very unreliable. Therefore the main task of Project is a strict calculation of minimally-possible power expenses to support the ambipolar barriers, drift stochastic ion pumping from thermal barriers and the ash from the central cell of an axially-symmetric magnetic field, and to balance completely the reactor power, strictly calculating the plasma kinetics in the central cell.

The urgency of Project is caused by the fact that, until now there is no one complete and reliably-developed plasma model for any D3He-reactor modification having favorable prospects for the industrial implementation. Tokamaks and other toroidal systems do not lead to the commercial implementation of the D3He-fusion.The years elapsed more than billion dollars were spent to study the tandem mirror plasma confinement. Therefore it is necessary to have as good as possible based arguments for continuation (or put an end?) of experimental studies in this important way towards a fusion reactor with very attractive properties and promising very low radiation hazard.


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