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Inertial Electrostatic Confinement 3He Breeder for D-3He Satellite Systems

Luis Chacón, George H. Miley

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 33 / Number 2 / March 1998 / Pages 182-209


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Fusion fuel of D-3He combines a high-energy yield per fusion reaction with a relatively high fusion cross section. Moreover, its nuclear reaction (D + 3He → p + , 18.3 MeV) minimizes neutrons and maximizes charged fusion products, enabling increased energy recovery efficiency by direct conversion. However, scarce 3He terrestrial resources have deterred research and development on this alternative. Production of 3He through inertial electrostatic confinement breeders, which supply 3He to field-reversed-configuration reactors (called satellites in reference to their dependence on the breeder) is explored. The breeder-satellite system is analyzed in terms of both energy balance and economics. The energy balance takes the net energy gain of the global system as the key parameter. The economic study determines the competitiveness of breeding with respect to 3He lunar mining, which was already shown to be an ultimately attractive route for commercial development.

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