Magnetized Target Fusion Collaboration. Final report

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Nuclear fusion has the potential to satisfy the prodigious power that the world will demand in the future, but it has yet to be harnessed as a practical energy source. The entry of fusion as a viable, competitive source of power has been stymied by the challenge of finding an economical way to provide for the confinement and heating of the plasma fuel. It is the contention here that a simpler path to fusion can be achieved by creating fusion conditions in a different regime at small scale (~ a few cm). One such program now under study, referred to ... continued below

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30 p.

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Slough, John April 18, 2012.

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Nuclear fusion has the potential to satisfy the prodigious power that the world will demand in the future, but it has yet to be harnessed as a practical energy source. The entry of fusion as a viable, competitive source of power has been stymied by the challenge of finding an economical way to provide for the confinement and heating of the plasma fuel. It is the contention here that a simpler path to fusion can be achieved by creating fusion conditions in a different regime at small scale (~ a few cm). One such program now under study, referred to as Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF), is directed at obtaining fusion in this high energy density regime by rapidly compressing a compact toroidal plasmoid commonly referred to as a Field Reversed Configuration (FRC). To make fusion practical at this smaller scale, an efficient method for compressing the FRC to fusion gain conditions is required. In one variant of MTF a conducting metal shell is imploded electrically. This radially compresses and heats the FRC plasmoid to fusion conditions. The closed magnetic field in the target plasmoid suppresses the thermal transport to the confining shell, thus lowering the imploding power needed to compress the target. The undertaking described in this report was to provide a suitable target FRC, as well as a simple and robust method for inserting and stopping the FRC within the imploding liner. The FRC must also survive during the time it takes for the metal liner to compress the FRC target. The initial work at the UW was focused on developing adequate preionization and flux trapping that were found to be essential in past experiments for obtaining the density, flux and most critically, FRC lifetime required for MTF. The timescale for testing and development of such a source can be rapidly accelerated by taking advantage of a new facility funded by the Department of Energy. At this facility, two inductive plasma accelerators (IPA) were constructed and tested. Recent experiments with these IPAs have demonstrated the ability to rapidly form, accelerate and merge two hypervelocity FRCs into a compression chamber. The resultant FRC that was formed was hot (T{sub ion} ~ 400 eV), stationary, and stable with a configuration lifetime several times that necessary for the MTF liner experiments. The accelerator length was less than 1 meter, and the time from the initiation of formation to the establishment of the final equilibrium was less than 10 microseconds. With some modification, each accelerator can be made capable of producing FRCs suitable for the production of the target plasma for the MTF liner experiment. Based on the initial FRC merging/compression results, the design and methodology for an experimental realization of the target plasma for the MTF liner experiment can now be defined. The construction and testing of the key components for the formation of the target plasma at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) will be performed on the IPA experiment, now at MSNW. A high density FRC plasmoid will be formed and accelerated out of each IPA into a merging/compression chamber similar to the imploding liner at AFRL. The properties of the resultant FRC plasma (size, temperature, density, flux, lifetime) will be obtained. The process will be optimized, and a final design for implementation at AFRL will be carried out. When implemented at AFRL it is anticipated that the colliding/merging FRCs will then be compressed by the liner. In this manner it is hoped that ultimately a plasma with ion temperatures reaching the 10 keV range and fusion gain near unity can be obtained.

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30 p.

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  • Report No.: DOE/ER--54929
  • Grant Number: FG02-07ER54929
  • DOI: 10.2172/1038663 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1038663
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc832363

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Creation Date

  • April 18, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 7, 2016, 4:50 p.m.

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Slough, John. Magnetized Target Fusion Collaboration. Final report, report, April 18, 2012; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc832363/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.