On the modelling of neutron transport in a fusion reactor

Simulation of the neutron flux inside a fusion tokamak reactor building. The white area at the centre is occupied by the fusion reactor. Photo: iter.org

In the process of fusion energy production based hydrogen heavy isotopes deuterium and tritium as fuel, high-energy neutrons are released. These neutrons have many roles in a fusion reactor.

On one side, neutrons from the fusion reactions taking place in the fuel inside the reactor vacuum vessel generate the heat that, in a fusion plant, will initiate the electricity-producing process. Moreover, neutron interaction with lithium inside the machine will produce tritium.

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Divertor Tokamak Test Facility to be built in Italy

The Divertor Tokamak Test (DTT) Facility will be built in Frascati, Rome, Italy, as has been announced by Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA). It will be part of the International Center of Excellence for nuclear fusion research and will have a cost of 500 million euros.

This experimental machine will provide scientific and technological answers to some particularly complex problems of the fusion process (such as the management of very high temperatures) and stands as a “link” between ITER and DEMO international projects. Therefore DTT should operate integrating various aspects, with significant power loads, flexible divertors, plasma edge and bulk conditions approaching as much as possible those planned for DEMO, at least in terms of dimensionless parameters.

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A new superconductor approach to Fusion in smaller devices

SPARC experiment concept. Photo: MIT News.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the private company Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) announced on March 8th their collaboration to develop technology for producing energy from nuclear fusion within the next 15 years.

Their new approach is based on new high-temperature superconductors that have become commercially available recently. Those superconductors will allow to strengthen the magnetic field that confines the plasma and will allow to build smaller and cheaper nuclear reactors than the actual projects such as ITER or JET.

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Japan will build a supercomputer dedicated entirely to Fusion

Cray XC-50 design (Source: Cray webpage)

The National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST) of Japan has selected a Cray XC50™  supercomputer to be its new flagship supercomputing system. The yet unnamed supercomputer will be the replace for the Bullx cluster known as Helios.

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New recipe proposed for fusion: Fusing Quarks

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Photo: CERN

Whether the nuclear fusion approach is based upon magnetically confined plasmas or inertial confinement, the underlying idea is the same, to fuse nuclei made up of protons and neutrons into a more massive nucleus. But what if there exists other physical mechanisms?

A recent paper published in Nature by Marek Karliner and Jonathan L. Rosner describes the fusion reaction at a quark-level by the double charmed baryon discovered at CERN, Geneva. CERN hosts the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider which intends to discover the fundamental structure of the universe.

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Twenty years of fusion experiments in TJ-II

CIEMAT Fusion Group next to TJ-II in 1997. (Photo: E. Poveda)

CIEMAT’s TJ-II Fusion experiment have completed twenty years of operation from the first high temperature plasmas that were achieved in December in 1997.

During those twenty years, the TJ-II device has contributed successfully to science by incorporating a unique set of measurement and instrumentation systems for model validation and essential theory for confinement fusion plasma physics. As a result of this strategy, the results obtained from TJ-II have contributed to crucial subjects, such as physics of transporting impurities, control of instabilities generated by energetic particles, physics of self-organization in systems not in equilibrium, and coupling between neoclassical and turbulent transport mechanisms, which have led to publications in the most prestigious physics journals, such as “Physical Review Letters” and “Nuclear Fusion”.

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