First IAEA Workshop on Fusion Enterprises

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
Post Reply
Dan Knapp
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:34 pm
Real name: Dan Knapp

First IAEA Workshop on Fusion Enterprises

Post by Dan Knapp » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:12 am

The First IAEA Workshop on Fusion Energy was held recently in Santa Fe. The presentations are now posted at: ... -Info.aspx
One I found particularly interesting was about work at the University of Wisconsin revisiting the mirror machine concept. They plan to build a mirror machine using commercially available MRI magnets. While still not cheap, this approach will be far less expensive than building custom designed magnets. Any time you can use components that are already being produced in quantity for another purpose, you can move faster and cheaper.

User avatar
Richard Hull
Site Admin
Posts: 10810
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

Re: First IAEA Workshop on Fusion Enterprises

Post by Richard Hull » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:54 am

What is old is now new again. Stellarators, mirror machines, etc, project Sherwood ended, circa 1963-64, as these machines were being abandoned as dead ends. Alice in Wonderland...."curiouser and curiouser".

Squeeze that plasma more and more and keep it off the walls. That is the job of all the king's horses and all the king's men.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

User avatar
Dennis P Brown
Posts: 1474
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 2:46 pm
Real name: Dennis P Brown
Location: Glen Arm, MD

Re: First IAEA Workshop on Fusion Enterprises

Post by Dennis P Brown » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:15 pm

The issue with stellarators in the past was the magnet manufacturing technology - it was far too primitive when the idea first was conceived. Thanks to very, very powerful computers to do the extremely complex optimization calculations and amazing computer controlled winding/milling devices built over the last fifteen years, the Germans are showing the way. Comparing a 60's stellarator with the W-7X is not unlike comparing a 30's bi-plane fighter to a late 50's super-sonic jet fighter. As a result of these advances, the Germans are seeing results that exceed their initial models and have beat the world record stellarator (Japan) as well and they are are just in their first full year of operation with the new walls.

Relative to mirror machines, the higher SC magnets made for medical applications offer the chance to do non-fusion containment that can likely exceed past mirror machine attempts - certainly using cheap cast offs makes sense for playing with these for a university. As for any real advancement, I will wait and see but leakage out the ends will remain the bane for that approach. In any case, with a current record of just a millisecond for a mirror machine (I believe Lock-heed Martin achieved this but they have been rather quite the last two years) for the best mirror machine plasma, that shouldn't be too hard to beat. With current MCF funding gone, makes good sense.

Post Reply