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Alternate fuel for TriAlpha Fusion Reactor Design?

  1. Aug 29, 2015 #1

    jimgraber

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    http://news.sciencemag.org/physics/2015/08/secretive-fusion-company-makes-reactor-breakthrough


    Above is a link to a news story about the recent Tri Alpha Energy “breakthrough”.

    It looks to me like a very nice development in increased stability of a proposed reactor design.

    Tri Alpha emphasizes that it intends to fuel their ultimate reactor with PB (proton-boron) rather than DT (deuterium-tritium). Is there any reason the Tri Alpha design could not be used for DT instead?
     
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  3. Aug 29, 2015 #2

    Astronuc

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    The p-B reaction is more challenging than the d-t reaction, simply because Z(B) = 5.

    In addition, it is relatively simple to confine D and T to a plasma in a magnetic field, but more difficult to confine B. The higher Z of B means that there are more electrons available for recombination and radiative losses.

    Hitting a mass of B with a beam of protons necessarily means that the mass of B will not be solid, and so power density will suffer proportionally with the density of the B.
     
  4. Aug 31, 2015 #3
    Tri-Alpha is studying a concept known as the reversed field configurations (FRC). There are no reasons why a FRC could not be used for a D-T fusion reactor instead of a p-B reactor. The p-B reaction has a number of desirable features, and Tri-Alpha believes that these features more than make up for the additional difficulty of achieving p-B fusion.
     
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