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Fusion reactor design

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The design of devices that use powerful magnetic fields to control plasma so fusion can take place. The most widely used magnetic confinement device is the tokamak, followed by the stellarator.

Bob Ellis designs a PPPL first: A 3D printed mirror for microwave launchers

When scientists at the Korea Supercomputing Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) facility needed a crucial new component, they turned to PPPL engineer Bob Ellis. His task: Design a water-cooled fixed mirror that can withstand high heat loads for up to 300 seconds while directing microwaves beamed from launchers to heat the plasma that fuels fusion reactions.

COLLOQUIUM: Achieving 10MW Fusion Power in TFTR: a Retrospective

"The Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) operated at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) from 1982 to 1997. TFTR set a number of world records, including a plasma temperature of 510 million degrees centigrade -- the highest ever produced in a laboratory, and well beyond the 100 million degrees required for commercial fusion. In addition to meeting its physics objectives, TFTR achieved all of its hardware design goals, thus making substantial contributions in many areas of fusion technology development.

COLLOQUIUM: Industrialization of Nb3Sn conductor

Superconducting magnets are enabling tools for scientific research, and are also a vital component of our health care system.  Advances in magnet technology are strongly linked to advances in superconductor performance.  While particle accelerators for high energy physics and tokomaks for fusion are two prominent examples of research applications of superconductors, the demand for superconductors for these “big science” projects is neither steady nor certain.  As a result, it is often not a straight path to commercial success for new superconducting materials.

COLLOQUIUM: Smaller & Sooner: The ARC Pilot Design for Fusion Development

A new generation of superconducting (SC) tapes puts within reach loss-free magnetic fields with B > 20 Tesla on coil, doubling the field allowed by the present SC technology.  The tapes can also provide demountable SC toroidal field coils.  The ARC FNSF/Pilot design study explores how access to such technology would be a “game-changer” for small, robust tokamak reactors.

COLLOQUIUM: Large Scale Superconducting Magnets for Variety of Applications

Over the past several decades the U. S. magnetic confinement fusion program, working in collaboration with international partners, has developed superconductor and superconducting magnet technology to a very advanced level. These developments have been made using the low temperature superconductors (LTS) NbTi and Nb3Sn. The now operating Large Hadron Collider at CERN has demonstrated the scientific success of NbTi technology on a very large scale.


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Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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