List of fusion experiments

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The Nova laser, used for inertial confinement fusion experiments from 1984 until decommissioned in 1999.

Experiments directed toward developing fusion power are invariably done with dedicated machines which can be classified according to the principles they use to confine the plasma fuel and keep it hot.

The major division is between magnetic confinement and inertial confinement. In magnetic confinement, the tendency of the hot plasma to expand is counteracted by the Lorentz force between currents in the plasma and magnetic fields produced by external coils. The particle densities tend to be in the range of 1018 to 1022 m−3 and the linear dimensions in the range of 0.1 to 10 m. The particle and energy confinement times may range from under a millisecond to over a second, but the configuration itself is often maintained through input of particles, energy, and current for times that are hundreds or thousands of times longer. Some concepts are capable of maintaining a plasma indefinitely.

In contrast, with inertial confinement, there is nothing to counteract the expansion of the plasma. The confinement time is simply the time it takes the plasma pressure to overcome the inertia of the particles, hence the name. The densities tend to be in the range of 1031 to 1033 m−3 and the plasma radius in the range of 1 to 100 micrometers. These conditions are obtained by irradiating a millimeter-sized solid pellet with a nanosecond laser or ion pulse. The outer layer of the pellet is ablated, providing a reaction force that compresses the central 10% of the fuel by a factor of 10 or 20 to 103 or 104 times solid density. These microplasmas disperse in a time measured in nanoseconds. For a reactor, a repetition rate of several per second will be needed.

Magnetic confinement[edit]

Within the field of magnetic confinement experiments, there is a basic division between toroidal and open magnetic field topologies. Generally speaking, it is easier to contain a plasma in the direction perpendicular to the field than parallel to it. Parallel confinement can be solved either by bending the field lines back on themselves into circles or, more commonly, toroidal surfaces, or by constricting the bundle of field lines at both ends, which causes some of the particles to be reflected by the mirror effect. The toroidal geometries can be further subdivided according to whether the machine itself has a toroidal geometry, i.e., a solid core through the center of the plasma. The alternative is to dispense with a solid core and rely on currents in the plasma to produce the toroidal field.

Mirror machines have advantages in a simpler geometry and a better potential for direct conversion of particle energy to electricity. They generally require higher magnetic fields than toroidal machines, but the biggest problem has turned out to be confinement. For good confinement there must be more particles moving perpendicular to the field than there are moving parallel to the field. Such a non-Maxwellian velocity distribution is, however, very difficult to maintain and energetically costly.

The mirrors' advantage of simple machine geometry is maintained in machines which produce compact toroids, but there are potential disadvantages for stability in not having a central conductor and there is generally less possibility to control (and thereby optimize) the magnetic geometry. Compact toroid concepts are generally less well developed than those of toroidal machines. While this does not necessarily mean that they cannot work better than mainstream concepts, the uncertainty involved is much greater.

Somewhat in a class by itself is the Z-pinch, which has circular field lines. This was one of the first concepts tried, but it did not prove very successful. Furthermore, there was never a convincing concept for turning the pulsed machine requiring electrodes into a practical reactor.

The dense plasma focus is a controversial and "non-mainstream" device that relies on currents in the plasma to produce a toroid. It is a pulsed device that depends on a plasma that is not in equilibrium and has the potential for direct conversion of particle energy to electricity. Experiments are ongoing to test relatively new theories to determine if the device has a future.

Toroidal machine[edit]

Toroidal machines can be axially symmetric, like the tokamak and the reversed field pinch (RFP), or asymmetric, like the stellarator. The additional degree of freedom gained by giving up toroidal symmetry might ultimately be usable to produce better confinement, but the cost is complexity in the engineering, the theory, and the experimental diagnostics. Stellarators typically have a periodicity, e.g. a fivefold rotational symmetry. The RFP, despite some theoretical advantages such as a low magnetic field at the coils, has not proven very successful.

Tokamak[edit]

Device Name Status Construction Operation Location Organisation Major/Minor Radius B-field Plasma current Purpose Image
T-1 Shut down ? 1957-1959 Moscow Soviet Union Kurchatov Institute 0.625 m/0.13 m 1 T 0.04 MA First tokamak T-1
T-3 Shut down ? 1962-? Moscow Soviet Union Kurchatov Institute 1 m/0.12 m 2.5 T 0.06 MA
ST (Symmetric Tokamak) Shut down Model C 1970-1974 Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 1.09 m/0.13 m 5.0 T 0.13 MA First American tokamak, converted from Model C stellarator
ORMAK (Oak Ridge tokaMAK) Shut down 1971-1976 Oak Ridge United States Oak Ridge National Laboratory 0.8 m/0.23 m 2.5 T 0.34 MA First to achieve 20 MK plasma temperature ORMAK plasma vessel
ATC (Adiabatic Toroidal Compressor) Shut down 1971-1972 1972-1976 Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 0.88 m/0.11 m 2 T 0.05 MA Demonstrate compressional plasma heating Schematic of ATC
TFR (Tokamak de Fontenay-aux-Roses) Shut down 1973-1984 Fontenay-aux-Roses France CEA 1 m/0.2 m 6 T 0.49
T-10 (Tokamak-10) Shut down 1975-? Moscow Soviet Union Kurchatov Institute 1.50 m/0.36 m 4 T 0.6 MA Largest tokamak of its time Model of the T-10
PLT (Princeton Large Torus) Shut down 1975-1986 Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 1.32 m/0.4 m 4 T 0.7 MA First to achieve 1 MA plasma current Construction of the Princeton Large Torus
ASDEX (Axially Symmetric Divertor Experiment)[1] Recycled →HL-2A 1980-1990 Garching Germany Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik 1.65 m/0.4 m 2.8 T 0.5 MA Discovery of the H-mode in 1982
TEXTOR (Tokamak Experiment for Technology Oriented Research)[2][3] Shut down 1976-1980 1981-2013 Jülich Germany Forschungszentrum Jülich 1.75 m/0.47 m 2.8 T 0.8 MA Study plasma-wall interactions
TFTR (Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor)[4] Shut down 1980-1982 1982-1997 Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 2.4 m/0.8 m 6 T 3 MA Attempted scientific break-even, reached record fusion power of 10.7 MW and temperature of 510 MK TFTR plasma vessel
JET (Joint European Torus)[5] Operational 1978-1983 1983- Culham United Kingdom Culham Centre for Fusion Energy 2.96 m/0.96 m 4 T 7 MA Record for fusion output power 16.1 MW JET in 1991
Novillo[6][7] Shut down NOVA-II 1983-2004 Mexico City Mexico Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Nucleares 0.23 m/0.06 m 1 T 0.01 MA Study plasma-wall interactions
JT-60 (Japan Torus-60)[8] Recycled →JT-60SA 1985-2010 Naka Japan Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute 3.4 m/1.0 m 4 T 3 MA High-beta steady-state operation, highest fusion triple product
DIII-D[9] Operational 1986[10] 1986- San Diego United States General Atomics 1.67 m/0.67 m 2.2 T 3 MA Tokamak Optimization DIII-D vacuum vessel
STOR-M (Saskatchewan Torus-Modified)[11] Operational 1987- Saskatoon Canada Plasma Physics Laboratory (Saskatchewan) 0.46 m/0.125 m 1 T 0.06 MA Study plasma heating and anomalous transport
T-15 Recycled →T-15MD 1983-1988 1988-1995 Moscow Soviet Union Kurchatov Institute 2.43 m/0.7 m 3.6 T 1 MA First superconducting tokamak. T-15 coil system
Tore Supra[12] Recycled →WEST 1988-2011 Cadarache France Département de Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée 2.25 m/0.7 m 4.5 T 2 MA Large superconducting tokamak with active cooling
ADITYA (tokamak) Operational 1989- Gandhinagar India Institute for Plasma Research 0.75 m/0.25 m 1.2 T 0.25 MA
COMPASS (COMPact ASSembly)[13][14] Operational 1980- 1989- Prague Czech Republic Institute of Plasma Physics AS CR 0.56 m/0.23 m 2.1 T 0.32 MA COMPASS plasma chamber
FTU (Frascati Tokamak Upgrade) Operational 1990- Frascati Italy ENEA 0.935 m/0.35 m 8 T 1.6 MA
START (Small Tight Aspect Ratio Tokamak)[15] Shut down 1990-1998 Culham United Kingdom Culham Centre for Fusion Energy 0.3 m/? 0.5 T 0.31 MA First full-sized Spherical Tokamak
ASDEX Upgrade (Axially Symmetric Divertor Experiment) Operational 1991- Garching Germany Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik 1.65 m/0.5 m 2.6 T 1.4 MA ASDEX Upgrade plasma vessel segment
Alcator C-Mod (Alto Campo Toro)[16] Shut down 1986- 1991-2016 Cambridge United States Massachusetts Institute of Technology 0.68 m/0.22 m 8 T 2 MA record plasma pressure 2.05 bar Alcator C-Mod plasma vessel
ISTTOK (Instituto Superior Técnico TOKamak)[17] Operational 1992- Lisbon Portugal Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear 0.46 m/0.085 m 2.8 T 0.01 MA
TCV (Tokamak à Configuration Variable)[18] Operational 1992- Lausanne Switzerland École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne 0.88 m/0.25 m 1.43 T 1.2 MA Confinement studies TCV plasma vessel
Pegasus Toroidal Experiment[19] Operational ? 1996- Madison United States University of Wisconsin–Madison 0.45 m/0.4 m 0.18 T 0.3 MA Extremely low aspect ratio Pegasus Toroidal Experiment
NSTX (National Spherical Torus Experiment)[20] Operational 1999- Plainsboro Township United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 0.85 m/0.68 m 0.3 T 2 MA Study the spherical tokamak concept National Spherical Torus Experiment
ET (Electric Tokamak) Recycled →ETPD 1998 1999-2006 Los Angeles United States UCLA 5 m/1 m 0.25 T 0.045 Largest tokamak of its time The Electric Tokamak.jpg
CDX-U (Current Drive Experiment-Upgrade) Recycled →LTX 2000-2005 Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 0.3 m/? m 0.23 T 0.03 MA Study Lithium in plasma walls CDX-U setup
MAST (Mega-Ampere Spherical Tokamak)[21] Recycled →MAST-Upgrade 1997-1999 1999-2013 Culham United Kingdom Culham Centre for Fusion Energy 0.9 m/0.6 m 0.55 T 1.4 MA Investigate spherical tokamak for fusion Plasma in MAST
SST-1 (Steady State Superconducting Tokamak)[22] Operational 2001- 2005- Gandhinagar India Institute for Plasma Research 1.1 m/0.2 m 3 T 0.22 MA Produce a 1000s elongated double null divertor plasma
EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak)[23] Operational 2003-2006 2006- Hefei China Hefei Institutes of Physical Science 1.85 m/0.4 5m 3.5 T 0.5 MA H-Mode plasma for over 100 s at 50 MK EAST plasma vessel
KSTAR (Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research)[24] Operational 1998-2007 2008- Daejeon South Korea National Fusion Research Institute 1.8 m/0.5 m 3.5 T 2 MA Tokamak with fully superconducting magnets KSTAR
LTX (Lithium Tokamak Experiment) Operational 2005-2008 2008- Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 0.4 m/? m 0.4 T 0.4 MA Study Lithium in plasma walls Lithium Tokamak Experiment plasma vessel
QUEST (Spherical Tokamak)[25] Operational 2008- Kasuga Japan Kyushu University 0.68 m/0.4 m 0.25 T 0.02 MA Study steady state operation of a Spherical Tokamak
Kazakhstan Tokamak for Material testing (KTM) Operational 2000-2010 2010- Kurchatov Kazakhstan National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan 0.86 m/0.43 m 1 T 0.75 MA Testing of wall and divertor
ST25-HTS[26] Operational 2012-2015 2015- Culham United Kingdom Tokamak Energy Ltd 0.25 m/0.125 m 0.1 T 0.02 MA Steady state plasma ST25-HTS with plasma
WEST (Tungsten Environment in Steady-state Tokamak) Operational 2013-2016 2016- Cadarache France Département de Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée 2.5 m/0.5 m 3.7 T 1 MA Superconducting tokamak with active cooling WEST design
ST40[27] Operational 2017-2018 2018- Culham United Kingdom Tokamak Energy Ltd 0.4 m/0.3 m 3 T 2 MA First high field spherical tokamak ST40 cross section
JT-60SA (Japan Torus-60 super, advanced)[28] Under construction 2013-2020? 2020? Naka Japan Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute 2.96 m/1.18 m 2.25 T 5.5 MA Optimise plasma configurations for ITER and DEMO with full non-inductive steady-state operation panorama of JT-60SA
ITER[29] Under construction 2013- 2025? Cadarache France ITER Council 6.2 m/2.0 m 5.3 T 15 MA ? Demonstrate feasibility of fusion on a power-plant scale with 500 MW fusion power Small-scale model of ITER
DTT (Divertor Tokamak Test facility)[30] Planned ? 2022? Frascati Italy ENEA 2.15 m/0.70 m 6 T ? 6 MA ? Divertor design
IGNITOR[31] Planned[32] ? >2024 Troitzk Russia ENEA 1.32 m/0.47 m 13 T 11 MA ? Compact fustion reactor with self-sustained plasma and 100 MW of planned fusion power
CFETR (China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor)[33] Planned 2020? 2030? China Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences 5.7 m ? 5 T ? 10 MA ? Bridge gaps between ITER and DEMO, planned fusion power 1000 MW
K-DEMO (Korean fusion demonstration tokamak reactor)[34] Planned 2037? South Korea National Fusion Research Institute 6.8 m/2.1 m 7 T 12 MA ? Prototype for the development of commercial fusion reactors with around 2200 MW of fusion power Engineering drawing of planned KDEMO
DEMO (DEMOnstration Power Station) Planned 2031? 2044? ? 9 m/3 m ? 6 T ? 20 MA ? Prototype for a commercial fusion reactor Schematic of a DEMO nucelar fusion power plant with around 2-4 GW of fusion power

Stellarator[edit]

Device Name Status Construction Operation Type Location Organisation Major/Minor Radius B-field Purpose Image
Model A Shut down 1952-1953 1953-? Figure-8 Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 0.3 m/0.02 m 0.1 T First stellarator
Model B Shut down 1953-1954 1954-1959 Figure-8 Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 0.3 m/0.02 m 5 T Development of plasma diagnostics
Model B-2 Shut down Figure-8 Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 0.3 m/0.02 m 5 T
Model B-3 Shut down 1958 Figure-8 Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 0.4 m/0.02 m 4 T
Model B-64 Shut down 1955 Square Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory ? m/0.05 m 1.8 T
Model B-65 Shut down Racetrack Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Model B-66 Shut down Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Wendelstein 1-A Shut down 1960 Racetrack Garching Germany Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik 0.35 m/0.02 m 2 T ℓ=3
Wendelstein 1-B Shut down 1960 Racetrack Garching Germany Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik 0.35 m/0.02 m 2 T ℓ=2
Model C Recycled →ST 1957-1962 1962-1969 Racetrack Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 1.9 m/0.07 m 3.5 T Found large plasma losses by Bohm diffusion
L-1 Shut down 1963 1963-1971 Lebedev Russia Lebedev Physical Institute 0.6 m/0.05 m 1 T
SIRIUS Shut down 1964-? Kharkov Russia
TOR-1 Shut down 1967 1967-1973 Lebedev Russia Lebedev Physical Institute 0.6 m/0.05 m 1 T
TOR-2 Shut down ? 1967-1973 Lebedev Russia Lebedev Physical Institute 0.63 m/0.036 m 2.5 T
Wendelstein 2-A Shut down 1965-1968 1968-1974 Heliotron Garching Germany Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik 0.5 m/0.05 m 0.6 T Good plasma confinement “Munich mystery” Wendelstein 2-A
Wendelstein 2-B Shut down ?-1970 1971-? Heliotron Garching Germany Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik 0.5 m/0.055 m 1.25 T Demonstrated similar performance than tokamaks Wendelstein 2-B
L-2 Shut down ? 1975-? Lebedev Russia Lebedev Physical Institute 1 m/0.11 m 2.0 T
WEGA Recycled →HIDRA ? 1975-2013 Classical stellarator Greifswald Germany Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik 0.72 m/0.15 m 1.4 T Test lower hybrid heating WEGA
Wendelstein 7-A Shut down ? 1975-1985 Classical stellarator Garching Germany Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik 2 m/0.1 m 3.5 T First "pure" stellarator without plasma current
Auburn Torsatron Shut down ? 1984-1990 Torsatron Auburn United States Auburn University 0.58 m/0.14 m 0.2 T
Wendelstein 7-AS Shut down 1985-1986 1988-2002 Modular, advanced stellarator Garching Germany Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik 2 m/0.13 m 2.6 T First H-mode in a stellarator in 1992 Wendelstein 7-AS
Compact Auburn Torsatron (CAT) Shut down ?-1990 1990-2000 Torsatron Auburn United States Auburn University 0.53 m/0.11 m 0.1 T Study magnetic flux surfaces
H-1NF[35] Operational 1992- Heliac Canberra Australia Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Australian National University 1.0 m/0.19 m 0.5 T H-1NF plasma vessel
TJ-K[36] Operational TJ-IU 1994- Torsatron Kiel, Stuttgart Germany University of Stuttgart 0.60 m/0.10 m 0.5 T Teaching
TJ-II[37] Operational 1991- 1997- flexible Heliac Madrid Spain National Fusion Laboratory, Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (Ciemat) 1.5 m/0.28 m 1.2 T Study plasma in flexible configuration
LHD (Large Helical Device)[38] Operational 1990-1998 1998- Heliotron Toki Japan National Institute for Fusion Science 3.5 m/0.6 m 3 T Determine feasibility of a stellarator fusion reactor LHD cross section
Heliotron J (Heliotron J)[39] Operational 2000- Heliotron Kyoto Japan Institute of Advanced Energy 1.2 m/0.1 m 1.5 T Study helical-axis heliotron configuration
HSX (Helically Symmetric Experiment) Operational 1999- Modular, quasi-helically symmetric Madison United States University of Wisconsin–Madison 1.2 m/0.15 m 1 T investigate plasma transport HSX with clearly visible non-planar coils
Uragan-2(M)[40] ? ? ? Heliotron, Torsatron Kharkiv Ukraine National Science Center, Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology (NSC KIPT) 1.7 m/0.24 m 2.4 T ?
Uragan-3 (M [uk])[41] ? ? ? Torsatron Kharkiv Ukraine National Science Center, Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology (NSC KIPT) 1.0 m/0.12 m 1.3 T ?
Columbia Non-neutral Torus (CNT) Operational ? 2004- Circular interlocked coils New York City United States Columbia University 0.3 m/0.1 m 0.2 T Study of non-neutral plasmas
Quasi-poloidal stellarator (QPS)[42][43] Cancelled 2001-2007 - Modular Oak Ridge United States Oak Ridge National Laboratory 0.9 m/0.33 m 1.0 T Stellarator research Engineering drawing of the QPS
NCSX (National Compact Stellarator Experiment) Cancelled 2004-2008 - Helias Princeton United States Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 1.4 m/0.32 m 1.7 T High-β stability CAD drawing of NCSX
Compact Toroidal Hybrid (CTH) Operational ? 2007?- Torsatron Auburn United States Auburn University 0.75 m/0.2 m 0.7 T Hybrid stellarator/tokamak
HIDRA (Hybrid Illinois Device for Research and Applications)[44] Operational 2013-2014 (WEGA) 2014- ? Urbana, IL United States University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign 0.72 m/0.19 m 0.5 T Stellarator and Tokamak in one device HIDRA after its reasemmbly in Illinois
Wendelstein 7-X[45] Operational 1996-2015 2015- Helias Greifswald Germany Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik 5.5 m/0.53 m 3 T Steady-state plasma in fully optimized stellarator Schematic diagram of Wendelstein 7-X
SCR-1 (Stellarator of Costa Rica) Operational 2011-2015 2016- Modular Cartago Costa Rica Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica 0.14 m/0.042 m 0.044 T SCR-1 vacuum vessel drawing

Reversed field pinch (RFP)[edit]

Magnetic mirror[edit]

Spheromak[edit]

Field-Reversed Configuration (FRC)[edit]

  • C-2 Tri Alpha Energy
  • C-2U Tri Alpha Energy
  • C-3 (under construction?) Tri Alpha Energy
  • LSX University of Washington
  • IPA University of Washington
  • HF University of Washington
  • IPA- HF University of Washington

Open field lines[edit]

Plasma pinch[edit]

  • Trisops - 2 facing theta-pinch guns

Levitated Dipole[edit]

Inertial confinement[edit]

Laser-driven[edit]

Current or under construction experimental facilities[edit]

Solid state lasers[edit]
Gas lasers[edit]
  • NIKE laser at the Naval Research Laboratories, Krypton Fluoride gas laser
  • PALS, formerly the "Asterix IV", at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic,[53] 1 kJ max. output iodine laser at 1.315 micrometre fundamental wavelength

Dismantled experimental facilities[edit]

Solid-state lasers[edit]
Gas lasers[edit]
  • "Single Beam System" or simply "67" after the building number it was housed in, a 1 kJ carbon dioxide laser at Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Gemini laser, 2 beams, 2.5 kJ carbon dioxide laser at LANL
  • Helios laser, 8 beam, ~10 kJ carbon dioxide laser at LANLMedia at Wikimedia Commons
  • Antares laser at LANL. (40 kJ CO2 laser, largest ever built, production of hot electrons in target plasma due to long wavelength of laser resulted in poor laser/plasma energy coupling)
  • Aurora laser 96 beam 1.3 kJ total krypton fluoride (KrF) laser at LANL
  • Sprite laser few joules/pulse laser at the Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Z-Pinch[edit]

Inertial electrostatic confinement[edit]

Magnetized target fusion[edit]

References[edit]

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