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Magneto-Inertial Fusion gets another boost.

Magneto-Inertial Fusion (also called Magnetized Target Fusion) is an approach that seeks to access fusion plasma densities intermediate between the relatively low density plasmas typical of tokamaks and other magnetic confinement energy (MFE) approaches and the very high densities typical of inertial confinement fusion (ICF/IFE). This approach, long advocated and studied by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, received a degree of validation in experiments at the University of Rochester in 2011 and have recently been the subject of simulations and planned experiments at the Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) using the powerful Z pulsed power facility.

A paper by S. A. Slutz and R. A. Vesey of SNL published in the January 13, 2012 issue of Physical Review Letters reports the results of computer simulations predicting that "scientific breakeven" (fusion energy produced equal to energy deposited in the fusion fuel) could be possible using the 26 Megamp current now available in the Z facility if DT were used as the fuel. Experiments on the facility are forecast to be carried out in 2013, but DD will be used as the fuel instead of DT, due to lack of radiation shielding at the facility. The simulation predicts that a larger Z-type facility (with about 3 times the current) could produce energy gains of 1000 or more. A workshop was held February 5-8, 2012 to discuss issues associated with this technique. which SNL has dubbed MAGLIF (Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion). The workshop papers can be accessed at http://www.sandia.gov/pulsedpower/Workshop.html

A paper describing the benefits of investigating this intermediate density regime and the technologies for accessing it were described in a paper by Irv Lindemuth (Am. J. Phys. 77 (5), May 2009) and presented at Fusion Power Associates December 1-2, 2010 annual meeting: http://fire.pppl.gov/fpa10_Fusion_principles_Lindemuth.pdf.

The Los Alamos work, which uses a different tech-nology, is being pursued partly in conjunction with the Shiva Star facility at the Air Force Research Laboratory. It has been described in many places, including talks given by Glen Wurden and Scott Hsu at Fusion Power Associates December 14-15, 2012 annual meeting: http://fire.pppl.gov/fpa_annual_meet.html

For further information, contact:

Mark Herrmann (SNL): mherrmak-a@sandia.gov

Glen Wurden (LANL): wurden@lanl.gov

Irv Lindemuth (retired): IrvL@att.net
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Publication:Fusion Power Report
Date:May 1, 2012
Words:387
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