SoCal Plasma Zoom Seminar: The Advanced Tokamak Path to a Compact Fusion Pilot Plant

Richard Buttery
General Atomics
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
4:00 pm
Zoom Seminar
The Advanced Tokamak concept provides an attractive path to develop a compact and inexpensive “pilot plant” to demonstrate net electricity and resolve nuclear technology and breeding. It works through a fortuitous alignment of high-pressure operation with strong self-driven ‘bootstrap’ current and low turbulent transport. Here, great research progress in transport, pedestal, stability and energetic particle physics has identified the key principles behind a solution, which will be explained in this talk. Furthermore, new “full physics” simulations show the trade-offs and path to optimize the approach: raising pressure increases fusion performance, but increasing the density has greater leverage, raising bootstrap current and decreasing auxiliary current drive demands from expensive RF systems. The efficient solutions found have high energy confinement, reducing the necessary fusion performance, heat and neutron loads for a net electric goal. Viable devices are predicted with a compact major radius of ~4m radius giving 200MW electricity at ~6T using conventional superconductors, or better still using high Tc superconductors at 7T, which provides greater performance margins and permits easier maintenance for the nuclear research mission. The plasma exhaust is managed by a combination of core radiation, flux expansion and radiative divertor, although the challenges continuous operation requires further configuration research to reduce erosion. Overall this Compact Advanced Tokamak (CAT) approach provides an attractive and robust path to fusion energy, with high performance and stability. Further exciting research is underway at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility and elsewhere to validate the approach and test key technologies to make such a device a reality.

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 927 8544 9357
Passcode: 766360
Troy Carter, UCLA