Accelerator based fusion reactor

Keh Fei Liu, Alexander Wu Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

A feasibility study of fusion reactors based on accelerators is carried out. We consider a novel scheme where a beam from the accelerator hits the target plasma on the resonance of the fusion reaction and establish characteristic criteria for a workable reactor. We consider the reactions d + t→n + α, d +3He →p + α, and p +11B→3α in this study. The critical temperature of the plasma is determined from overcoming the stopping power of the beam with the fusion energy gain. The needed plasma lifetime is determined from the width of the resonance, the beam velocity and the plasma density. We estimate the critical beam flux by balancing the energy of fusion production against the plasma thermo-energy and the loss due to stopping power for the case of an inert plasma. The product of critical flux and plasma lifetime is independent of plasma density and has a weak dependence on temperature. Even though the critical temperatures for these reactions are lower than those for the thermonuclear reactors, the critical flux is in the range of 1022 - 1024 cm-2 s-1 for the plasma density pt = 1015 cm-3 in the case of an inert plasma. Several approaches to control the growth of the two-stream instability are discussed. We have also considered several scenarios for practical implementation which will require further studies. Finally, we consider the case where the injected beam at the resonance energy maintains the plasma temperature and prolongs its lifetime to reach a steady state. The equations for power balance and particle number conservation are given for this case.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084002
JournalNuclear Fusion
Volume57
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 IAEA, Vienna.

Keywords

  • accelerator
  • fusion reactor
  • ion beam
  • plasma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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