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Jun 11, 2019

Tracking major sources of energy loss in compact fusion facilities

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics

A key obstacle to controlling on Earth the fusion that powers the sun and stars is leakage of energy and particles from plasma, the hot, charged state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei that fuels fusion reactions. At the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), physicists have been focusing on validating computer simulations that forecast energy losses caused by turbulent transport during fusion experiments.

Researchers used codes developed at General Atomics (GA) in San Diego to compare theoretical predictions of electron and ion turbulent transport with findings of the first campaign of the laboratory’s compact—or “low-aspect ratio”—National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U). GA, which operates the DIII-D National Fusion Facility for the DOE, has developed codes well-suited for this purpose.

Low-aspect ratio tokamaks are shaped like cored apples, unlike the more widely used conventional tokamaks that are shaped like doughnuts.

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