What is the Fusion

The ultimate objective of fusion energy research is the demonstration of a steady-state, high-gain (or "ignited" * ) fusion plasma producing reactor-level fusion power. To accomplish this goal, we must improve our understanding of the underlying physics principles and advance the state-of-the-art of critical enabling technologies.

Improving physics understanding:
The transport of energy & particles from the plasma, the contribution of instabilities and the effects of large populations of energetic alpha particles are examples of areas that require improved physics understanding so that techniques can be developed to improve the performance and reduce the size and cost of future fusion reactors.

Developing enabling technologies:
High strength materials that do not become excessively activated from fusion neutrons or weakened due to the nuclear after-heat are needed for the reactor structure. First-wall materials with adequate thermal conductivity to carry away the heat flux from the high temperature fusion plasma are required. Large bore, high field super-conducting magnets are necessary to provide the required steady-state confinement of fusion plasmas.

*an ignited plasma is a self-sustained burning plasma in which the plasma heating is provided entirely by the energetic alpha particles produced by the D-T reaction.


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