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Fusion Using Lasers

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. LPPFusion has been pursuing aneutronic fusion from pB11 fuel for some time. Their fuel components of hydrogen (one proton) and boron-11 fuel fuse at high temperatures to produce an excited state of carbon-12 which immediately decays to three helium nuclei. This same fuel is behind a fusion experiment using lasers. Lasers accelerate protons to fuse with stationary boron-11. A team of international researchers conducted tests to prove the viability of this approach. The July 2017 edition of Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B described these results. The research was performed using the ECLIPSE saphire laser at Centre Lasers Intenses et Applications (CELIA) hosted at the University of Bordeaux. The laser, […]

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LPPFusion Crowdsourcing Investment

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. Update: 11/15/2017 Less than a week after start, crowdfunding has already raised over 50% of it’s initial goal! Thanks to recent changes to U.S. securities laws, LPPFusion is able to start a crowdfunding round of investment. Announced November 9th 2017, the initiative hopes to raise investment capital to support their search for clean, inexpensive, aneutronic fusion power. In 2012 President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act). Title III of this legislation went into effect on May 16th 2016 and allows for more liberal investment opportunities in private companies. LPPFusion is using these new rules to place an investment offering on WeFunder.com. U.S. law previously prohibited unaccredited investors (those […]

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U.S. Blocks Iran from ITER

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran. The agreement’s goal is to allow Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear research without developing weapons making capabilities. Participants in the agreement, finalized in Vienna on 14 July 2015, include Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the European Union. Last month, as reported by Science, President Trump declared that the JCPOA is not in the United States’s national interest. The U.S. Congress now has 60 days to reevaluate it. One provision of JCOPA provided a path for Iran to join the […]

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Fusion Computing

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. A recent post highlighted the importance of computer based simulation to fusion science. We now have two more reports demonstrating the important role computer science plays in fusion research. The first is a story from the venerable Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). PPPL in collaboration with General Atomics (GA) have joined forces to bring PPPL’s premier transport code, TRANSP, to beginning users and experts alike. Another story illustrates that fusion researchers are in constant need of greater computing resources. Private research lab Tri Alpha Energy (TAE) thinks it will need exascale supercomputers to help design its next reactor. PPPL’s TRANSP code helps researchers understand plasma transport analysis: the study of how plasma […]

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LPP Fusion Teams Up with UC San Diego

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. A joint announcement recently outlined a new collaboration between LPP Fusion and the University of California San Diego (UCSD). The Center for Energy Research (CER) at UCSD will cooperate on fusion research with LPP Fusion. The research will strive for sustained fusion power from a dense plasma focus (DPF) reactor. CER Director, Farhat N. Beg stated “LPPFusion is a leader in this field and will make available to CER its research data and expertise to help us set up our own DPF facility at UC San Diego.” The benefits of fusion energy from a DPF have guided the development of LPP Fusion’s Focus Fusion 1 (FF-1) reactor. These benefits include low cost, […]

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Most Potent Tool in Fusion Science

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. There are a pair of stories highlighting the importance of computer simulation for fusion science. Fusion research is expensive. Big reactors require large quantities of costly materials. Construction projects run for years or decades. Ramp up times necessitate huge investments before the science can even begin. Hence the usefulness of computer simulation. Careful modeling of reactor design or plasma behavior can yield insights that save time and money while inching us closer to clean fusion power. Therefore, computers are often the most valuable tool to the fusion scientist. The first story describes simulation of plasma turbulence. Researchers used multi-scale simulations to study turbulent instabilities that cause plasma heat loss. The simulation added […]

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LPP Fusion Featured at IEEE

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. The prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recently published a story covering LPP Fusion. Author Mark Anderson describes the efforts at LPP FUsion, their unique approach to aneutronic fusion, upcoming publications as well as some quotes from Eric Lerner. The article lays out the basic design and function of the dense plasma pinch reactor upon which LPP bases their work, much of which will be familiar to regular readers of the Focus Fusion Society. More interesting is the mention of a publication under peer review at the journal Physics of Plasmas. Reportedly the proposed article will show the achievement of confined mean ion energies of 200 kilo-electron volts. To reach […]

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Wendelstein 7-X Stellarator Restarting

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. The Wendelstein 7-X stellarator reactor at Greifswald is restarting for a second round of experiments. These tests are slated for higher temperatures now that reactor modifications are complete. The reactor changes will also allow for longer plasma confinement times. An important goal of this round of experimentation centers on the proper functioning of ten plasma divertors. After an initial round of shakedown tests, the Wendelstein 7-X went offline last year. This downtime allowed for more construction to take place. Upgrades to instrumentation occurred. The metal walls of the reaction chamber were lined with over 8,000 graphite tiles. These tiles protect the metal walls from the extreme plasma temperatures. The tiles will allow […]

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LPP Fusion News

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. LPP Fusion recently released a newsletter. The letter outlined three items and gave insight into the research program for the balance of 2017. News of a new cathode along with reactor data analysis and maintenance updates were included. The most significant news was the arrival of a new beryllium cathode. A beryllium anode was received earlier in the year. With both in hand, plans for swapping out the current tungsten terminals can proceed. The balance of September will see some final testing with these tungsten electrodes. Then disassembly of the vacuum chamber will begin. The reaction chamber will receive a fresh titanium coating and have the electrodes changed out. “We expect that […]

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Better Heating of Magnetically Confined Plasmas

Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor. A few weeks ago we wrote about researchers adding impurities to fusion fuel to improve outcomes. In that case noble gasses added to the fuel prevented runaway electron currents. A new report details another study of fusion fuel additives. In this case scientists examine ways to improve radio frequency (RF) plasma heating. This work recently appeared in the journal Nature Physics. The team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) explain how adjusting the nuclear fusion “recipe” allowed them to increase the energy output. Replicated results produced by researchers at the largest active fusion device in Europe, the Joint European Torus (JET), confirm this finding. Nuclear fusion attempts to bring […]

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