By Fusion Science Assessment Committee, Plasma Science Committee, Board on Physics and Astronomy, National Research Council

The goal of this review of the fusion power sciences application of the dept of Energy's (DOE's) workplace of technological know-how is to guage the standard of the examine application and to supply tips for the longer term application method geared toward strengthening the learn section of this system. The committee concentrated its overview of the fusion software on magnetic confinement, or magnetic fusion power (MFE), and touched purely in short on inertial fusion power (IFE), simply because MFE-relevant study debts for approximately ninety five percentage of the investment within the place of work of Science's fusion application. except in a different way famous, all references to fusion during this file will be assumed to consult magnetic fusion.

Fusion study performed within the usa less than the sponsorship of the place of work of Fusion power Sciences (OFES) has made outstanding strides through the years and lately handed numerous very important milestones. for instance, weakly burning plasmas with temperatures drastically exceeding these at the floor of the solar were created and clinically determined. major development has been made in realizing and controlling instabilities and turbulence in plasma fusion experiments, thereby facilitating greater plasma confinement-remotely controlling turbulence in a 100-million-degree medium is a optimum clinical success via any degree. idea and modeling at the moment are capable of offer helpful insights into instabilities and to lead experiments. Experiments and linked diagnostics are actually capable of extract sufficient information regarding the procedures taking place in high-temperature plasmas to lead additional advancements in idea and modeling. some of the significant experimental and theoretical instruments which have been built at the moment are converging to provide a qualitative swap within the program's method of clinical discovery.

The U.S. software has normally been a major resource of innovation and discovery for the overseas fusion power attempt. The objective of figuring out at a primary point the actual methods governing saw plasma habit has been a distinguishing function of this system.

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Extra info for An Assessment of the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences Program (Compass Series)

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Predictive capability also permits the confident design of future large experiments, perhaps even the optimum magnetic container (see Chapter 3 for a more complete description of the various magnetic configurations being explored within the program). The following sections discuss progress in the understanding of plasma science and the predictive capability that follows from this understanding. The material is presented in three categories: equilibrium, stability, and transport. It must be emphasized that while the overview of science issues that follows attempts to assess some of the important accomplishments of the program as well as the challenges it faces, all areas are not given equal treatment.

Calculations based on the power balance argument, when modified to include transport effects, yield results closer to those seen in experiments. Most theories for the density limit have focused on edge power balance. As described above, these generally fail to predict important experimental observations. Although work is under way on the turbulent transport aspects of the problem, it is clear that a first-principles predictive capability is distant. Only a few turbulent transport codes show any density-limiting behavior—indeed, most turbulence simulations are run in regimes that are not applicable to the edge of high-density plasmas.

Above this limiting β, the plasma blows apart and strikes the walls of the confinement vessel, quenching the discharge. Hence the creation of equilibrium is the necessary first step to achieving high-temperature plasma containment. A number of techniques, including high-power ion beams and driven waves at frequencies from kilohertz to multigigahertz, generally referred to as radio-frequency waves, have been developed to heat plasmas and also to generate and sustain plasma currents. The basic propagation and absorption physics for beams and waves are well understood.

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