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Latest DIII-D Stories

New Insights Into A Fusion Plasma's Transport Barrier Promise To Boost Future Reactor Performance
2013-11-13 15:52:11

American Physical Society In a collaborative effort, researchers in the United States and the United Kingdom have developed a new technique that will help them optimize the transport barrier, or pedestal, in fusion plasmas, which will be key to increasing future fusion power performance. This work has been recognized with the 2013 APS John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research. The core of fusion plasmas must reach temperatures over 100 million degrees to enable ample...

Rapid Plasma Rotation May Be Key To Softening The Blow Of Powerful Plasma Disruptions
2013-11-13 11:25:56

American Physical Society In the quest for fusion energy on earth, researchers use magnetic fields to insulate hot plasma from the walls of the chamber to maintain the reaction and prevent damage to interior surfaces. In the tokamak, a leading contender to achieve a sustained fusion burn, electrical currents flowing in the plasma inside the doughnut-shaped vacuum chamber can become unstable if the plasma current or pressure gets too high or the control system breaks, leading to a sudden...

2011-11-11 16:47:19

News from the 53rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics Recent experiments carried out at the DIII-D tokamak in San Diego have allowed scientists to observe how fusion plasmas spontaneously turn off the plasma turbulence responsible for most of the heat loss in plasmas confined by toroidal magnetic fields. Using a new microwave instrument based on the same principles as police radar guns, researchers from UCLA observed the complex interplay between plasma turbulence and...

2011-11-11 14:17:46

News from the 53rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics Tokamaks–a leading design concept for producing nuclear fusion energy–can, under certain rare fault conditions, produce beams of very energetic "runaway" electrons that have the potential to damage interior surfaces of the device. In the event of such a fault, a tokamak-based nuclear fusion power plant will have to employ protection systems to prevent any damage. Now, scientists at the DIII-D National...

2011-11-11 01:49:29

News from the 53rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics A major upgrade to the DIII-D tokamak fusion reactor operated by General Atomics in San Diego will enable it to develop fusion plasmas that can burn indefinitely. Researchers installed a movable, 30-ton particle-beam heating system that drives electric current over a broad cross section of the magnetically confined plasma inside the reactor's vacuum vessel. Precise aiming of this beamline allows scientists to vary the...

2011-11-11 01:44:33

News from the 53rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics To achieve nuclear fusion for practical energy production, scientists often use magnetic fields to confine plasma. This creates a magnetic (or more precisely "magneto-hydrodynamic") fluid in which plasma is tied to magnetic field lines, and where regions of plasma can be isolated and heated to very high temperatures–typically 10 times hotter than the core of the sun! At these temperatures the plasma is nearly...

2010-11-08 11:35:25

News from the 52nd annual meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics Fusion plasmas in the laboratory typically reach 100 million degrees. These high temperatures are required to ignite the hydrogen plasma and maintain the fusion burn by the production of high-energy alpha particles. One challenge for a fusion reactor is how to contain the alpha particles in the vessel long enough for the particles to efficiently heat the hydrogen plasma. One way that these alpha particles can escape the...

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2009-11-02 10:04:54

Progress in advanced operational scenarios for tokamak fusion devices provides hope for steady-state fusion power plants In the quest to produce nuclear fusion energy, researchers from the DIII-D National Fusion Facility have recently confirmed long-standing theoretical predictions that performance, efficiency and reliability are simultaneously obtained in tokamaks, the leading magnetic confinement fusion device, operating at their performance limits. Experiments designed to test these...