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.