The Compact Advanced Tokamak (CAT) concept uses physics models to show that by carefully shaping the plasma and the distribution of current in the plasma, fusion plant operators can suppress turbulent eddies in the plasma. This would reduce heat loss and allow more efficient reactor operation. This advance could help achieve self-sustaining plasma and smaller, less expensive power plants.
In a conventional tokamak, the cross-section of the plasma is shaped like the letter D. Facing the straight part of the D on the inside side of the donut-shaped tokamak is called positive triangularity. New research suggests that reversing the plasma—negative triangularity–reduces how much the plasma interacts with the surfaces of the tokamak for reduced wear.
Cooling a 150-million-degree plasma in an orderly and controllable fashion. Researchers at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility are studying a new method that uses boron-filled diamond shells to quickly cool fusion plasmas. Early experimental results and computer modeling indicate this method could avoid problems with traditional cooling approaches.
Instabilities in tokamak confinement fields can damage reactor walls by exposing them to plasma. Resonant magnetic perturbation (RMP) suppresses instabilities, but it was thought to impair confinement. New research shows that RMP has no effect on confinement and actually improves tokamak operation.
Scientists at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility have for the first time studied the internal structure and stability of high-energy runaway electron (RE) beams in a tokamak. The finding could provide a way to control the damaging potential of RE beams and could contribute to future power production using tokamak fusion power plants.