# spherical tokamak fusion technology

Known as the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), it will be based on “spherical” tokamak technology that is currently being pioneered at the UK’s Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE). {\displaystyle \scriptstyle I} Nuclear fusion could be the most transformative technology of the 21st century. Monday 19th October, 1-2pm. David Kingham, CEO of UK based Tokamak Energy says experimental and theoretical research has shown 'spherical' tokamaks to be a "fast route to fusion" compared with more "conventional" tokamak devices such as Joint European Torus (JET). In particular, the classic "kink instability" was strongly suppressed. Once the concept design phase is complete, a second detailed engineering design phase will precede construction of the device, envisaged for 2032. {\displaystyle \scriptstyle B_{0}} Research; Research challenges; Plasma science; JET: the Joint European Torus; MAST Upgrade; STEP; Materials science; Advanced computing; Research collaborations; Research policy statement; Technology. [citation needed] Tokamaks use a series of ring-shaped magnets around the confinement area, and their physical dimensions mean that the hole in the middle of the torus can be reduced only so much before the magnet windings are touching. A brief discussion of the ST as a power plant is included at the end. Engineering studies suggest that the maximum field possible will be about 7.5 T, much lower than is possible with a conventional layout. The limit depends on size of the machine, and indicates that machines will have to be built of at least a certain size if they wish to reach some performance goal. [20] What is today known as the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy was set up in the 1960s to gather together all of the UK's fusion research, formerly spread across several sites, and Robinson had recently been promoted to running several projects at the site. The resulting energy balance for any fusion power device, using a hot plasma, is shown below. They named this layout the "spherical tokamak", or ST. Tokamak Energy was set-up in 2009 by researchers from the Culham Fusion Research Group, with the goal to crack nuclear fusion by 2025 through perfecting the spherical tokamak. tokamak energy was set-up in 2009 by researchers from the culham fusion research group, with the goal to crack nuclear fusion by 2025 through perfecting the spherical tokamak. The blanket serves two purposes, one is to protect the magnets from the high energy neutrons, which will damage them, and the other is to use those neutrons to breed tritium from lithium, producing more fuel for the reactor. {\displaystyle \beta _{\text{max}}\,} Tokamak Energy’s approach is to combine the new technology of high field strength, high temperature superconducting magnets with the efficiency advantages of the spherical tokamak, as pioneered at Culham and Princeton Laboratories. ( Introduction. Early tokamaks had all used circular cross-sections simply because that was the easiest to model and build, but over time it became clear that C or (more commonly) D-shaped plasma cross-sections led to higher performance. Braams and P.E. B ⟨ Fusion in brief; Why we need fusion; How fusion works; The tokamak; Achieving fusion power; Frequently Asked Questions; Research. United Kingdom lights up its unusual fusion reactor. Even in the event that STs do not lead to lower cost approaches to power generation, they are still lower cost in general; this makes them attractive devices for studying plasma physics, or as high-energy neutron sources. Spherical Tokamak Plasma Science and Fusion Energy Component Testing Y.-K. M. Peng,a P. J. Fogarty, T. W. Burgess, D. J. Strickler, ... fusion engineering, fusion technology, component testing 1. [1][2] The project aims to produce net electricity from fusion on a timescale of 2040. = The planned UK facility would be based on a ‘tokamak’ design that uses magnetic fields to confine a plasma of heavy isotopes of hydrogen, tritium and deuterium, which fuse under extreme heat and pressure. a to be 1.5/5 = 0.24, then: So in spite of the higher beta in the ST, the overall power density is lower, largely due to the use of superconducting magnets in the traditional design. [10] However, it is also essential to maximize the η for practical reasons, and in the case of a MFE reactor, that generally means increasing the efficiency of the confinement system, notably the energy used in the magnets. , of the reactor to about 2.5; the diameter of the reactor as a whole could be about 2.5 times the cross-sectional diameter of the confinement area. Every machine containing plasma magnetically, can be compared using this number. This greatly simplifies the physical design as well, as the toroidal vacuum vessel can be replaced with a cylinder. STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) is an ambitious programme to design and build a prototype fusion power plant, targeting operations around 2040. to about 7.5 T. Using the ideal numbers from the section above: Now consider the conventional design as above, using superconducting magnets with a These are energetically expensive, so the ST design relies on high bootstrap currents for economical operation. μ In practice the actual limits are suggested by the "safety factor", q, which vary over the volume of the plasma. ρ In this case further consideration of the overall magnetic field is needed when considering the betas. ϵ In an ST, where we are attempting to maximize Tokamak Energy Ltd, UK, is developing spherical tokamaks using high temperature superconductor magnets as a possible route to fusion power using relatively small devices. STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) is an ambitious programme to design and build a prototype fusion power plant, targeting operations around 2040. Abstract. A A spherical tokamak is a type of fusion power device based on the tokamak principle. The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) is an exciting and ambitious programme to accelerate the delivery of fusion energy. ORNL was provided with funds to develop and test a prototype central solenoid column built with 6 layers of turns of a high-strength copper alloy called "Glidcop" (each layer with water cooling). Spheromaks are essentially "smoke rings" of plasma that are internally self-stable. In the tokamak, stellarator and most pinch devices, the plasma is forced to follow helical magnetic lines. Its work will play a key role in the STEP design. This sparked off[when?] In September 2019 the United Kingdom announced a planned £200-million (US\$248-million) investment to produce a design for a fusion facility named the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP). STEP would be a spherical tokamak that holds the plasma in a cored-apple shape. Dr. Cohen decided to follow a new path. STEP – which UKAEA is designing in an initial £220 million programme funded by the UK Government – will be based on MAST Upgrade’s ‘spherical tokamak’ fusion concept. [31], It is possible to build a traditional tokamak that operates at higher betas, through the use of more powerful magnets. Established in 2009, Tokamak Energy is striving to harness the significant potential of fusion power to deliver an abundant, safe and cost-effective source of clean energy to the world. Fusion differs from fission, the technology used by existing nuclear power plants, ... Mast (Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak) Upgrade will use an innovative design known as a spherical tokamak. The ST design, through its mechanical arrangement, has much better q and thus allows for much more magnetic power before the instabilities appear. In 1954 Edward Teller hosted a meeting exploring some of these issues, and noted that he felt plasmas would be inherently more stable if they were following convex lines of magnetic force, rather than concave. Note that the critical beta scales with aspect ratio, although not directly, because This was an enormous advance, and the need for a purpose-built machine became pressing. {\displaystyle \epsilon _{0}} [2] Doing so, however, requires massive amount of power in the magnetic system, and any way to reduce this improves the overall energy efficiency of the system. {\displaystyle \epsilon } We present an overview of the development programme including details of the enabling technologies, the key modelling methods and results, and the remaining challenges on the path to compact fusion. JET. At first glance it might seem that the ST's higher betas would naturally lead to higher allowable pressures, and thus higher power density. Beta is an important measure of performance, but in the case of a reactor designed to produce electricity, there are other practical issues that have to be considered. , This process releases a considerable amount of binding energy, typically in the form of high-speed subatomic particles like neutrons or beta particles. 0 This limit is theoretically the same in the ST and conventional designs, but as the ST has a much lower aspect ratio, the effective field changes more dramatically over the plasma volume.[35]. Although the new configuration only operated "cold", far below fusion temperatures, the results were promising and demonstrated all of the basic features of the ST. Several other groups with spheromak machines made similar conversions, notably the rotamak at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the SPHEX machine. This chamber is known as the first wall, and defines the minimum distance between the magnets and plasma. When the spheromak approaches the conductor, a magnetic field is generated that pushes it away again. Following Freidberg:[30]. “ Graham Dunbar – Tokamak Energy. {\displaystyle \beta _{\text{crit}}} The price of magnets scales roughly with β½, so reactors operating at higher betas are less expensive for any given level of confinement. TY - THES. Tokamak Energy are developing novel HTS technology targeting demonstration of net fusion energy gain in the world's first compact superconducting spherical tokamak: ST-F1. Troyon's work provides a beta limit where operational reactors will start to see significant instabilities, and demonstrates how this limit scales with size, layout, magnetic field and current in the plasma. = IMechE fellow … For people that want to make fusion work, this is an all too common situation. These definitions allowed the Princeton group to develop a more flexible version of Troyon's critical beta: Where {\displaystyle \langle B^{2}\rangle } Nuclear fusion could be the most transformative technology of the 21st century. ⋆ Some experimental designs were slightly under this limit, while many reactors had much higher A. When the fusion fuel is heated, it will naturally lose energy through a number of processes. STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) is an ambitious programme to design and construct a fusion energy prototype plant, targeting 2040 for completion. Officials at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in Oxfordshire, UK, have announced that they have achieved “first plasma” on the upgraded Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST). of 15 T, and a blanket of 1.2 meters thickness. This places a further limit on the allowable plasma pressures. {\displaystyle \scriptstyle \kappa } The new MAST Upgrade spherical tokamak experiment is due to start operations at Culham early in 2020, playing a key role in the STEP … [15], The ST concept appeared to represent an enormous advance in tokamak design. Yican Wu et all, "Conceptual study on liquid metal center conductor post in spherical tokamak reactors", Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Chinese Fusion Engineering Testing Reactor, "Fusion Triple Product and the Density Limit of High-Density Internal Diffusion Barrier Plasmas in LHD", "Selection of a toroidal fusion reactor concept for a magnetic fusion production reactor", "STX Magnet Fabrication and Testing to 18T", "Derek Robinson: Physicist devoted to creating a safe form of energy from fusion", The PROTO-SPHERA experiment, an innovative confinement scheme for Fusion, "Ideal MHD stability limits of the PROTO-SPHERA configuration", "High-β performance of the START spherical tokamak", "The Development of the Spherical Tokamak", "The Spherical Tokamak Programme at Culham", International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Spherical_tokamak&oldid=1000479275, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from December 2015, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2015, All articles with vague or ambiguous time, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. In particular, Troyon's work on the critical beta of a reactor design is considered one of the great advances in modern plasma physics. A successor facility called MAST Upgrade began operation in 2020. This places significant limits on the achievable aspect ratio. ϵ 2 In 3D, the outer surface is roughly spherical. B These are generally related to radiating terms like blackbody radiation, and conduction terms, where the physical interaction with the surrounding carries energy out of the plasma. / a worldwide effort to interest other teams in the ST concept and get a test machine built. This drives the plasma ever closer to the Troyon limits where instabilities set in. • Tokamak Solutions UK Ltd was established “to make fusion useful quickly” by developing spherical tokamaks and powerful fusion neutron sources • Based at Culham, the world leading centre for fusion (JET) with unique capabilities in compact “Spherical Tokamaks” (MAST, START) [35] Luckily, high elongation and triangularity are the features that give rise to these currents, so it is possible that the ST will actually be more economical in this regard. a The time will be reduced by increasing the temperature, which increases the number of high-speed particles in the mix, or by increasing the pressure, which keeps them closer together. START proved Peng and Strickler's predictions; the ST had performance an order of magnitude better than conventional designs, and cost much less to build as well. . 2 The typical solution to this problem was to wrap the area in a sheet of copper, or more rarely, place a copper conductor down the center. The downside to this approach, one that was widely criticized in the field, is that it places the magnets directly in the high-energy neutron flux of the fusion reactions. Thanks to the expertise of its world-class team of scientists and engineers, the company’s compact, spherical tokamak has already been proven to be a viable route to fusion. An upgrade to the Authority’s Oxfordshire based Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) has achieved first plasma. To date, Tokamak Energy … In particular, the classic "kink instability" was strongly suppressed. [33] It was not clear at the time if this manifested itself in the real world, but over time the wisdom of these words become apparent. The lack of shielding also means the magnet is directly exposed to the interior of the reactor. [23], Additionally, START demonstrated excellent plasma stability. With a total diameter of only around 10 m, STEP will be relatively small in comparison to ITER, the most advanced tokamak fusion reactor to date. [6][14] This means that STs can reach the same operational triple product numbers as conventional designs using one tenth the magnetic field. {\displaystyle B_{\text{max}}} The Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) was an experimental tokamak built at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) circa 1980 and entering service in 1982. Experiments are underway to see if the conductor can be replaced by a z-pinch plasma[37] or liquid metal conductor[38] in its place. In order for them to fuse, they must be pressed together with enough energy to overcome this coulomb barrier. Anything over and above this amount could be used for power generation. The spherical tokamak could offer a route to a compact fusion power plant. STEP should be operational by the early 2040s. [11], Around the same time, several advances in plasma physics were making their way through the fusion community. {\displaystyle \scriptstyle \langle B^{2}\rangle =\langle B_{\theta }^{2}+B_{\rho }^{2}\rangle } max Our scientists and engineers are making fusion a viable technology for the power stations of tomorrow. {\displaystyle \langle B_{N}\rangle } ST40 is just one in a line of spherical tokamaks in the UK. This suggested that a low-A machine would not only be less expensive to build, but have better performance as well. The Mega AMP Spherical Tokamak (MAST) nuclear reactor has achieved first plasma, which could significantly advance the state of fusion energy research. / Considering a central column made of copper, we can fix the maximum field generated in the coil, That’s double the top field strength attained by the biggest publicly funded spherical tokamak, Princeton’s National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade, says Kingham. p ... intense market competition plus global political pressure to cut CO2 emissions has driven innovation and advanced the technologies to the point that fusion may … of 2 and an aspect ratio of 1.25: Now compare this to a traditional tokamak with the same elongation and a major radius of 5 meters and minor radius of 2 meters: The linearity of Proponents claim that it has a number of substantial practical advantages over these devices. MAST Upgrade. In this definition it should be clear that decreasing aspect ratio, To limit this, the surface of the plasma toroid is normally modeled so that the instabilities are concentrated towards an area that can be freely damaged, called, Robin Herman, "Fusion: The Search for Endless Energy", Cambridge University Press, 1990, pg. [1], The simplest way to do this is to heat the fuel to very high temperatures, and allow the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution to produce a number of very high-energy atoms within a larger, cooler mix. IMechE fellow John Ross knows the potential of nuclear fusion. The MAST heats and pressurises the gas to create plasma in a spherical chamber where magnetic fields can be used to control it. ⟩ MAST Upgrade will be the forerunner of the UK’s prototype fusion power plant, Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), due for completion by 2040. B Instead of wiring each magnet coil separately, he proposed using a single large conductor in the center, and wiring the magnets as half-rings off of this conductor. If we consider these reactor components as a group, we can calculate the magnetic field that remains on the far side of the blanket, at the inner face of the plasma: Now we consider the average plasma pressure that can be generated with this magnetic field. B N2 - The work described in this dissertation is part of the worldwide program that has the aim to develop nuclear fusion as energy source. Fusion energy Component Test Facilities (CTF), aimed 2 B Tokamak Energy is working to accelerated time scales to demonstrate fusion in a spherical tokamak, and the on-time delivery of the vessel has kept the project on track. In 1984,[13] Martin Peng of ORNL proposed an alternate arrangement of the magnet coils that would greatly reduce the aspect ratio while avoiding the erosion issues of the compact tokamak. CCFE runs a comprehensive advanced computing … β as a general principle, one can eliminate the blanket on the inside face and leave the central column open to the neutrons. It is subject to the full heating flux of the plasma, and the neutrons generated by the fusion reactions. Projects such as Step (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) aim to revolutionise electricity generation and make a giant contribution to the fight against climate change. the elongation. [39] This is an area of active research. This has led to a variety of machines that operate at ever higher temperatures and attempt to maintain the resulting plasma in a stable state long enough to meet the desired triple product. Langfields were delighted to work with Tokamak on the manufacture of the ST40 Fusion Device. Of particular importance were the concepts of elongation and triangularity, referring to the cross-sectional shape of the plasma. ) Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) is a spherical tokamak concept proposed by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and funded by UK government. You will undertake modelling of both existing devices and future prototype reactors to study the feasibility of microwave current drive in a range of operational scenarios. Established in 2009, Tokamak Energy is striving to harness the significant potential of fusion power to deliver an abundant, safe and cost-effective source of clean energy to the world. [15][17], Failing to build an ST at ORNL, Peng began[when?] p The programme, expected to create 300 jobs directly, builds on UKAEA’s expertise in developing so-called ‘spherical tokamaks’, which are compact and efficient fusion devices that are expected to offer an economical route to commercial fusion power. [29] This starts with a development of a useful beta for a highly asymmetric volume: Where They noticed, based on magnetohydrodynamic considerations, that tokamaks were inherently more stable at low aspect ratios. m [17] Its earliest operations quickly put any theoretical concerns to rest. Among these is the power density, which offers an estimate of the size of the machine needed for a given power output. This leads to problems with the two other terms; confining the fuel at a high enough pressure and for a long enough time is well beyond the capabilities of any known material. The funding covers the initial five year concept design phase, while the total capital costs are estimated to a few billion dollars. Β½, so reactors operating at higher betas are less expensive for any fusion power.... ) is an area of active research concept of the 21st century technology for the design, found! Enough for the design, as the first wall and magnets International energy (. 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