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An Engineer's Approach to Fusion Energy

Author: Alan L Hoffman
Requested Type: Consider for Invited
Submitted: 2006-12-18 15:14:13

Co-authors: T.R. Jarboe, U. Shumlak, J.F. Santarius

Contact Info:
University of Washington
14700 NE 95 St
Redmond, WA   98052
USA

Abstract Text:
Magnetic fusion energy development has been dominated by the ‘Physicist’s approach’, which involves investigation of devices which best satisfy all known physics requirements for equilibrium, stability, and confinement. Even most ‘innovative’ work is centered around modest alterations to basic toroidal systems. While this approach will almost certainly lead to machines capable of producing burning plasmas, it may not result in the best fusion reactor from the point of view of simplicity, maintainability, and economics. An ‘Engineer’s approach’ would start from a different set of constraints, insisting only on the most basic requirements of equilibrium and closed magnetic field lines, and choosing a design with the best engineering properties. These properties could consist of 1) a singly connected system, 2) simple low field confinement coils, 3) easy handling of exhaust plasma, 4) zero possibility of catastrophic events, and preferably 5) steady state with low recirculating power fraction. A close coordination between physicist and engineer would then be required to look at all innovative ideas which could lead to stability and good confinement for such a system. The ‘Engineer’s approach’ has been advocated previously by the electric power industry. Due to recent advances in the understanding of both high and low beta minimum energy states of compact plasmas, advanced calculations of kinetic and flow effects, and demonstrations of steady state maintenance of compact plasmas, it is worth revisiting this approach. The status of research into stability, confinement, and steady-state maintenance of such systems will be reviewed.

Characterization: A1,A2

Comments:
This presentation probably only makes sense as an oral presentation.

University of Maryland

Innovative Confinement Concepts Workshop
February 12-14, 2007
College Park, Maryland

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