Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 45 / Number 2T / March 2004 / Pages 475-488
Technical Paper / Plasma and Fusion Energy Physics - Present Status and Future
Based on the fusion reaction between the nuclei of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium magnetic confinement fusion research aims to develop an electricity producing power plant. The principle concept is to confine a plasma, consisting of these nuclei and their electrons, in a magnetic field configuration in such a way that the thermal plasma can reach temperatures and densities at which sufficient fusion reactions take place to achieve a positive energy balance. The products of the fusion reactions are helium nuclei or -particles and neutrons. The first, also bound to the magnetic field lines, are supposed to transfer their energy to the thermal plasma and thus sustain the fusion reaction. The latter, because they are not confined by the magnetic field, can leave the plasma directly and are used to breed tritium from lithium and convert the fusion energy into heat.