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An overview of the energy problem in the world is presented. The colossal task of ‘decarbonizing’ the current energy system, with ~85% of the primary energy produced from fossil sources is discussed. There are at the moment only two options that can contribute to a solution: renewable energy (sun, wind, hydro, etc.) or nuclear fission. Their contributions, ~2% for sun and wind, ~6% for hydro and ~5% for fission, will need to be enormously increased in a relatively short time, to meet the targets set by policy makers. The possible role and large potential for fusion to contribute to a solution in the future as a safe, nearly inexhaustible and environmentally compatible energy source is discussed. The principles of magnetic and inertial confinement are outlined, and the two main options for magnetic confinement, tokamak and stellarator, are explained. The status of magnetic fusion is summarized and the next steps in fusion research, ITER and DEMO, briefly presented.
References 1. Panek, R., Bilková, O., Fuchs, V., Hron, M., Chraska, P., Stockel, J., Urban, J., Weinzettl, V., Zajac, J., & Zacek, F. (2006). Reinstallation of the COMPASS-D tokamak in IPP ASCR. Czech. J. Phys., 56(Suppl.2), B125-B137. DOI: 10.1007/s10582-006-0188-1. 2. Kunze, H. J. (2009). Introduction to plasma spectroscopy. Berlin-Heidelberg: Springer. 3. Boyd, T. M. J., & Sanderson, J. J. (2003). The physics of plasmas. New York: Cambridge University Press. 4. Griem, H. R. (1997). Principles of plasma spectroscopy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 5
This paper concerns important and difficult problems connected with a design and construction of thermonuclear reactors, which have to use nuclear fusion reactions of heavy isotopes of hydrogen, i.e., deuterium (D) and tritium (T). There are described conditions in which such reactions can occur, and different methods of a high-temperature plasma generation, i.e., high-current electrical discharges, intense microwave pulses, and injection of energetic neutral atoms (NBI). There are also presented experimental facilities which can contain hot plasma for an appropriate period, and particularly so-called tokamaks. The second part presents the technical problems which must be solved in order to build a thermonuclear reactor, that might be used for energetic purposes. There are considered problems connected with a choice of constructional materials for a vacuum chamber, its internal parts, external windings generating a magnetic field, and necessary shields. The next part considers the handling of radioactive tritium; the using of alpha particles (4He) for additional heating of plasma; recuperation of hydrogen isotopes absorbed in the tokamak internal parts, and a removal of a helium excess. There is presented a scheme of a future thermonuclear power plant and critical comments on a road map which should enable the construction of an industrial thermonuclear reactor (DEMO).
The conceptual design activities for the DEMOnstration reactor (DEMO) – the prototype fusion power plant – are conducted in Europe by the EUROfusion Consortium. In 2015, three design concepts of the DEMO toroidal field (TF) coil were proposed by Swiss Plasma Center (EPFL-SPC, PSI Villigen), Italian National Agency for New Technologies (ENEA Frascati), and Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA Cadarache). The proposed conductor designs were subjected to complete mechanical, electromagnetic, and thermal-hydraulic analyses. The present study is focused on the thermal-hydraulic analysis of the candidate conductor designs using simplified models. It includes (a) hydraulic analysis, (b) heat removal analysis, and (c) assessment of the maximum temperature and the maximum pressure in each conductor during quench. The performed analysis, aimed at verification whether the proposed design concepts fulfil the established acceptance criteria, provides the information for further improvements of the coil and conductors design.