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Inertial Confinement Fusion Development Options: Facility Characteristics and Schedules from a Reactor Physics Viewpoint

James A. Blink

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 9 / Number 3 / May 1986 / Pages 381-390


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The pulsed, localized fusion source in inertial confinement fusion (ICF) permits scale-down of reactor dimensions and fusion yield in development facilities while still maintaining full-scale reactor surface and volume energy loads. Hence, the power and geometric scale of ICF development facilities can be much smaller than comparable magnetic fusion facilities. The power is reduced by reducing both the pulse rate and the target gain; however, full gain and pulse rate experiments of limited duration will be possible. At least three engineering facilities will be required for the development of heavy-ion beam or short wavelength laser driven fusion power. The design and construction times required for large facilities produce a nominal plan with a demonstration (DEMO) plant operating around the year 2018, and a crash plan with DEMO operation in 2009. Fusion breeder development is expected to follow a similar time line, except that a crash (option-limited) plan could succeed as early as the turn of the century.

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