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Technology Requirements for Commercial Applications of Inertial Confinement Fusion

T. G. Frank, C. E. Rossi

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 1 / Number 3 / July 1981 / Pages 359-376


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Current inertial confinement fusion (ICF) research is directed primarily at physics experiments intended to provide confidence in the scientific feasibility of the basic concept. In conjunction with these experiments, a variety of laser and particle beam drivers having potential for eventual use in fusion power plants is being developed. Expectations are that the scientific feasibility of ICF will be demonstrated in the latter part of the 1980s. At that time, the emphasis of the program will shift to engineering, economic, environmental, and licensing issues with the necessary technology development effort continuing into the early part of the next century. This paper discusses the technology requirements for the successive phases of engineering development leading to commercial application of ICF. The engineering areas requiring significant effort for ICF application include high average power driver development; pulsed high-energy power supply development; reactor cavity and heat transport system design; tritium extraction and control; commercial pellet development; pellet injection, tracking, and targeting systems design; materials radiation, fatigue, and corrosion behavior; and reactor plant systems integration and demonstration.

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