Nuclear fusion reactor Definition and 7 Discussions

Fusion power is an experimental form of power generation that generates electricity by using nuclear fusion reactions. In a fusion process, two atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, while releasing energy. Devices that produce energy in this way are known as fusion reactors.
Fusion occurs in a plasma confined at sufficient temperature and pressure for a sufficient interval. The combination of these constraints is known as the Lawson criterion. Higher values for one element permit lower values in the others.
In stars, the most common fuel is hydrogen. Gravity provides long confinement times and high pressure. The power produced by the fused nuclei sustain the necessary temperature to keep the reaction going. Proposed reactors generally use hydrogen isotopes such as deuterium and tritium (or a mixture of the two), which react more easily than individual protons. This allows them to reach the Lawson criterion without extreme values of the other constraints.
As a source of power, nuclear fusion is expected to have many advantages over fission. These include reduced radioactivity in operation and little high-level nuclear waste, ample fuel supplies, and increased safety. However, the Lawson criterion has not been met in a practical system.
Research into fusion reactors began in the 1940s, but to date, no design has produced more fusion power output than the power input. Most fusion designs produce a stream of energetic neutrons that over time degrade the materials used within the reaction chamber.
Fusion researchers have investigated many confinement concepts. The early emphasis was on the z-pinch, stellarator, and magnetic mirror. Later the tokamak and inertial confinement took the lead. Both designs are under research at large scales, notably the ITER tokamak in France, and the National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser in the United States. Researchers are also studying other designs that may offer cheaper approaches. Among these alternatives, there is increasing interest in magnetized target fusion, inertial electrostatic confinement, and new variations of the stellarator.

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  1. Strato Incendus

    Writing: Input Wanted A dangerous space mission that requires a lot of helping hands

    As I've mentioned in a few previous threads, at the midpoint of my sci-fi story on a generation ship, I need a disaster that wipes out about a third of the (male half of) the crew. Several people have suggested things like "a virus that disproportionately affects men", but that didn't quite cut...
  2. Shreya

    Electric field due to a Poloidal Magnetic Field in Toroidal Magnetic Confinement of a Plasma

    Please be kind to help. How is an electric field formed due to toroidal magnetic field? How does the introduction of a poloidal magnetic field confine the plasma? Please answer in the context of Nuclear Fusion Reactor (tokamak).
  3. MichaelCadeOwen

    Research for a book

    I’m wanting to write a realistic sci-fi book but there are a few concepts I don’t understand how to apply. I’m not good with physics so what I’m wanting to know is how to calculate what pressure and temperature would be required for sustained nuclear fusion for something comparable to a star...
  4. E

    Recommend topic about magnetic confinement in fusion

    Am going to write a scientific report about nuclear fusion related to magnetic confinement in ITER. Please recommend me aspects worth writing and having many materials. Thanks in advance.
  5. Arubi Bushlee

    What is the process of invention?

    I make no promises: I came up with this idea for a new kind of nuclear fusion reactor. I do not want to give off any clues to how it works so I am going to be as vague as possible. I think it could be a viable means to nuclear fusion becoming... well, breakeven. I have by no means tested it...
  6. I

    Helium 3 fusion reactor?

    I have this project in school for settlement on moon. I have this idea that the large quantities of He 3 on moon could be extracted by heating the regolith at 700 degrees celsius and then could be taken to a reactor in which He 3 could be fused with Deuterium or itself. The heat produced could...
  7. psuedoben

    How to heat a plasma to 10^8 degrees Celsius

    Recently, Germany broke headlines when they fired up their nuclear fusion reactor. As I'm sure most everyone on this forum knows this, they plan on creating fusion by heating plasma to absurd temperatures while containing it in a magnetic field. What method do they use to heat the gas and...