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Conference on Nuclear Training and Education: A Biennial International Forum (CONTE 2021)
February 9–11, 2021
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Fusion Science and Technology
Notes on fusion
The ST25-HTS tokamak.
Governments around the world have been interested in fusion for more than 70 years. Fusion research was largely secret until 1968, when the Soviets unveiled exciting results from their tokamak (a magnetic confinement fusion device with a particular configuration that produces a toroidal plasma). The Soviets realized that tokamaks were not useful as weapons but could produce plasma in the million-degree temperature range to demonstrate Soviet scientific and technical prowess to the world.
Following this breakthrough, government laboratories around the world continued to pursue various methods of confining hot plasma to understand plasma physics under extreme conditions, getting closer and closer to the conditions necessary for fusion energy production. Tokamaks have been by far the most successful configuration. In the 1990s, the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory produced 10 MW of fusion power using deuterium-tritium fusion. A few years later, the Joint European Torus (JET) in the United Kingdom increased that to 16 MW, getting close to breakeven using 24 MW of power to heat the plasma.
Item ID: 800011|ISBN: 978-0199733842
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At the Geneva Superpower Summit in November 1985, Secretary of the former Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan agreed to pursue an international effort to develop fusion energy for peaceful purposes. At a time when tension between these cold war nations was very high, how were these leaders able to come together to work towards making nuclear fusion a feasible energy source?The Quest for a Fusion Energy Reactor is the story of the INTOR Workshop (INternational TOkamak Reactor) which brought together scientists and engineers from Europe, Japan, the United States, and the (then) USSR from 1978 to 1988 to share their individual research and work cooperatively on the design and development possibilities for harnessing nuclear energy. Drawing on his insights while serving as Vice Chairman of the INTOR Workshop, Weston Stacey offers an insider's account of both the participants' technical work and their fascinating political interactions under the blanket of the cold war. An accessible presentation of their research on the viability of designing, constructing, and operating a Tokamak experimental power reactor is combined with personal anecdotes of the obstacles Workshop leaders and participants faced as they strove to make progress on the global future of nuclear fusion technology while balancing their own countries' priorities. The Workshop led to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), construction of which began in 2009 with the goal of demonstrating the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power.