Experimental reactors for advanced fuel nuclear fusion
Reference persons MASSIMO ZUCCHETTI
External reference persons Samuele Meschini (DENERG)
Research Groups ESSENTIAL
Thesis type COMPUTATIONAL
Description Nuclear fusion reactor studies are mostly devoted to the Deuterium-Tritium (DT) fuel cycle. Neutron-induced transmutation of materials in a DT fusion power plant will give rise to the potential for long-term neutron-induced radioactivity in structures. To ensure the attractive safety and environmental characteristics of fusion power, careful design choices are necessary: the reliance on deuterium and tritium as the sole fusion fuels must be reconsidered, given the recent availability of new superconducting materials at high temperature, which could enable to obtain the high magnetic fields necessary for the confinement of Deuterium-Helium3 (DHe3) plasmas. As a first step to explore the possibilities of DHe3 plasmas, a DT burning plasma experiment at high field and plasma densities, which can be much closer to the required parameters than present-day experiments, is particularly attractive. Compact high-field experiments were the first to be proposed in order to achieve fusion ignition conditions based on existing technology and the known properties of high-density plasmas: in previous studies, a feasibility study of a high-field DHe3 experiment of larger dimensions and higher fusion power than Ignitor, however based on Ignitor technologies, brought to the proposal of the Candor fusion experiment. Unlike Ignitor, Candor would operate with values of poloidal beta around unity and the central part of the plasma column in the Second Stability region. The toroidal field coils are divided into two sets of coils and the central solenoid (air core transformer) is placed between them in the inboard part. In the recent years, a new generation of reactor designs has emerged. At the MIT, an innovative design was created: ARC, the Affordable Robust Compact reactor, and the SPARC experimental tokamak. ARC takes advantage of the recent progress in fusion technology, such as high temperature superconductors, that permit to decrease the dimension of the machine, reaching at the same time high magnetic fields.
Required skills You must know about nuclear fusion quite well. And you should be available to challenge yourself dealing with a quite advanced project.
Notes In 2015, your proponent tutor has been shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Physics for this research topics. It is not guaranteed you get the same results, but never say never again.
Deadline 27/05/2023 PROPONI LA TUA CANDIDATURA