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Fusion Science and Technology
NC State celebrates 70 years of nuclear engineering education
An early picture of the research reactor building on the North Carolina State University campus. The Department of Nuclear Engineering is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its nuclear engineering curriculum in 2020–2021. Photo: North Carolina State University
The Department of Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University has spent the 2020–2021 academic year celebrating the 70th anniversary of its becoming the first U.S. university to establish a nuclear engineering curriculum. It started in 1950, when Clifford Beck, then of Oak Ridge, Tenn., obtained support from NC State’s dean of engineering, Harold Lampe, to build the nation’s first university nuclear reactor and, in conjunction, establish an educational curriculum dedicated to nuclear engineering.
The department, host to the 2021 ANS Virtual Student Conference, scheduled for April 8–10, now features 23 tenure/tenure-track faculty and three research faculty members. “What a journey for the first nuclear engineering curriculum in the nation,” said Kostadin Ivanov, professor and department head.
O. Ågren, V. E. Moiseenko, K. Noack, A. Hagnestål
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 55 | Number 2 | February 2009 | Pages 46-51
Technical Paper | Seventh International Conference on Open Magnetic Systems for Plasma Confinement | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST09-A6981
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
A pure fusion mirror device suffers from the predicted low values of the Q factor (energy gain factor). A much higher energy production may be achieved in a fusion-fission reactor, where the fusion plasma neutron source is surrounded by a fission mantle. The fusion neutrons are capable of initiating energy producing fission reactions in the surrounding mantle. A mirror machine can probably be designed to provide sufficient space for a 1.1 m wide fission mantle inside the current coils, and the power production from the fission reactions can in such a case exceed the fusion power by more than two orders of magnitude (Pfis/Pfus [is approximately equal to] 150), suggesting a realistic reactor regime for a mirror based fusion-fission device. An energy producing device may operate with an electron temperature around 1 keV. Transmutation of long-lived radio active isotopes (minor actinides) from spent nuclear fuel from fission reactors can reduce geological storage from 100 000 years to only 300 years. Since the energy of D-T fusion neutrons are above the threshold for the most important transmutation reactions desired for treatment of nuclear waste, there may be an interest for a mirror transmutation device even if no net energy is produced. Recent theoretical simulations have considered the possibility to use the Gas Dynamic Trap (GDT) at Novosibirsk as a subcritical burner for transmutation by fusion neutrons. In the present work, possibilities for mirror based fusion-fission machines are discussed. Means to achieve sufficient end confinement for a straight field line mirror fusion-fission system with a thermal barrier are briefly analyzed. End leakage can alternatively be avoided by connecting the ends of a magnetic mirror with a stellerator tube, while the fusion neutrons are produced in the mirror part where a high energy sloshing ion component is confined. A zero dimensional model for such a mirror-stellarator system has been developed. The computed results indicate some possible parameter regimes for industrial transmutation and power production.