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An Assessment of the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion by Fusion Science Assessment Committee, Plasma Science

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

The function of this evaluation of the fusion strength sciences software of the dep. of Energy's (DOE's) place of work of technological know-how is to judge the standard of the examine application and to supply counsel for the long run application procedure geared toward strengthening the study part of this system. The committee concentrated its evaluation of the fusion application on magnetic confinement, or magnetic fusion strength (MFE), and touched purely in brief on inertial fusion strength (IFE), simply because MFE-relevant learn bills for about ninety five percentage of the investment within the workplace of Science's fusion software. until differently famous, all references to fusion during this record might be assumed to consult magnetic fusion.

Fusion study conducted within the usa lower than the sponsorship of the place of work of Fusion power Sciences (OFES) has made amazing strides through the years and lately handed a number of very important milestones. for instance, weakly burning plasmas with temperatures vastly exceeding these at the floor of the solar were created and clinically determined. major growth has been made in realizing and controlling instabilities and turbulence in plasma fusion experiments, thereby facilitating stronger plasma confinement-remotely controlling turbulence in a 100-million-degree medium is a prime clinical fulfillment by way of any degree. thought and modeling are actually in a position to offer important insights into instabilities and to steer experiments. Experiments and linked diagnostics at the moment are in a position to extract sufficient information regarding the procedures happening in high-temperature plasmas to lead additional advancements in thought and modeling. a few of the significant experimental and theoretical instruments which have been built are actually converging to provide a qualitative swap within the program's method of medical discovery.

The U.S. software has frequently been an incredible resource of innovation and discovery for the foreign fusion strength attempt. The aim of figuring out at a basic point the actual techniques governing saw plasma habit has been a distinguishing characteristic of this system.

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

Example text

Experimental techniques have been developed for remotely measuring fluctuations in the temperature and density at the length of the ion gyroradius (radius of gyration around the magnetic field) or larger. However, fluctuations at the much smaller electron-scale lengths have not yet been measured. Also, the measurement of fluctuations in the electric potential and the magnetic field is difficult. Although many instabilities can be present in modern plasma experiments, one particular instability—driven by the ion temperature gradient—has been identified as the dominant mechanism for ion thermal transport in the core of tokamak plasmas.

Present ideal stability predictions of the limits for individual tokamak discharges are accurate to better than 10 percent. These types of calculation have become essential for identifying promising innovative confinement schemes, not only in tokamaks but also in stellarators and spherical tori. Examples of discoveries that are strongly impacting the design of current experiments are “second stability” (a parameter regime in which stability—surprisingly—improves with increased plasma pressure), strong tailoring of the plasma shape, and the structure of the current profile.

Care must be taken to account for contributions from the intrinsic electric field in the plasma, which can often be comparable to the induced field. Such measurements typically provide spatial resolutions of a few centimeters and a time resolution of 5 to 10 ms. 1 deg. This accuracy is sufficient for evaluating the global stability of plasmas but not their local stability. The measurements are sufficient to confirm the existence of the theoretically predicted “bootstrap” current, which is a self-generated current present in weakly collisional plasmas.

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