1 Plasma Studies Division (TJ5), National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ), 7 Andrzeja Soltana Str., 05-400 Otwock/Swierk, Poland and Division of Magnetised Plasma, Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (IPPLM), 23 Hery Str., 01-497 Warsaw, Poland, Tel.: +48 22 273 1537, Fax: +48 22 779 3481
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).
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