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Fusion Science and Technology
Trump leaves space nuclear policy executive order for Biden team
A hot fire test of the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi was not completed as planned. The SLS is the vehicle meant to propel a crewed mission to the moon in 2024. Source: NASA Television
Among the executive orders President Trump issued during his last weeks in office was “Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration,” which builds on the Space Policy Directives published during his term. The order, issued on January 12, calls for actions within the next six months by NASA and the Department of Defense (DOD), together with the Department of Energy and other federal entities. Whether the Biden administration will retain some, all, or none of the specific goals of the Trump administration’s space nuclear policy remains to be seen, but one thing is very clear: If deep space exploration remains a priority, nuclear-powered and -propelled spacecraft will be needed.
The prospects for near-term deployment of nuclear propulsion and power systems in space improved during Trump’s presidency. However, Trump left office days after a hot fire test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket did not go as planned. The SLS rocket is meant to propel crewed missions to the moon in 2024 and to enable a series of long-duration lunar missions that could be powered by small lunar reactor installations. The test on January 16 of four engines that were supposed to fire for over eight minutes was automatically aborted after one minute, casting some doubt that a planned November 2021 Artemis I mission can go ahead on schedule.
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 57 | Number 2 | February 2010 | Pages 120-128
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST10-A9366
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The tritium balance in a D-T fusion reactor is discussed in this paper comparing the amount of tritium consumed in the fueling cycle including the plasma vessel with the amount of tritium generated in the blanket system, using information reported so far. This comparison shows that the overall burning efficiency of tritium in the plasma vessel, the tritium loss ratio represented by tritium trapping in the redeposition layer of the plasma-facing material, and the recovery efficiency in the tritium breeding system play important roles in the tritium balance and that it may not be easy to maintain good tritium economy of a D-T fusion reactor if the proper combination of burning efficiency, tritium loss ratio, and tritium recovery efficiency is not obtained. The allowable limits for the overall tritium burning efficiency, for the tritium loss ratio in the fueling cycle, and for the recovery efficiency to secure the self-sustainable tritium system are also discussed in this paper.