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Conceptual Design of a Deuterium-3He Fueled Tandem Mirror Reactor Satellite/Breeder System

Geoffrey W. Shuy, Ali E. Dabiri, Husam Gurol

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 9 / Number 3 / May 1986 / Pages 459-475


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A system of neutron-lean tandem mirror satellite reactors using the deuterium-3He (D-3He) fuel cycle has been assessed. The 3He fuel is produced via a breeder reactor, also based on the tandem mirror reactor (TMR) concept. The TMR concept was selected because, for the satellite reactors, the fusion energy is mostly in charged-particle form, so efficient, direct energy conversion can be used. For the breeder, the TMR gives a higher maximum achievable support ratio than other concepts give. The optimum satellite operating temperature was found to be ∼75 keV. The safety and cost of the satellite/breeder system were assessed. The D-3He fuel cycle becomes particularly attractive if the deuterium-deuterium (D-D) reaction can be suppressed by nuclear spin polarization. For perfect D-D reaction suppression, this would allow immediate hands-on maintainability of reactor components and allow for reduction in the magnet dimensions, since the shield would no longer be required. For no D-D reaction suppression, ∼3% of the fusion power will be in neutrons. This will then require the use of ∼40-cm shielding, along with activation concerns. Hands-on maintenance f or the satellite reactor is possible even without D-D reaction suppression, if low-activation materials are used. The radioactivity level of the 3He breeder is comparable to that of a deuterium-tritium reactor. The cost of electricity for the system, including the fuel costs, is estimated f or this system.

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