Hydrogen Driving Thermonuclear Fusion Energy
The thermonuclear fusion reactions in hydrogen isotopes are known to be a new source of energy in two very different situations. At one extreme, relatively slow reactions in a very controlled, confined manner produces theenergy emitted by the Sun and stars, whereas at the other, rapid thermonuclear reactions are responsible for the strong thermonuclear power of the hydrogen bomb. Somewhere between these two extremes, it should be possible to bring about thermonuclear reactions under conditions that will allow the energy to be released from hydrogen atoms at a controllable rate for electricity consumption and to meet the need for a new, yet clean, source of energy. We are mainly concerned with confinement of plasma at terrestrial temperatures (i.e., very hot plasmas); our primary interest is in applications to controlled fusion research in magnetic and inertial confinement reactors, such as the tokomak reactor machine, a magnetic confinement device and which involves a laser-driven pellet fusion chamber and micro-balloon glass, which contains the two isotopes of hydrogen to achieve inertial confinement. This chapter takes a very high-level and general approach to the subject of the two types of confinement of interest in the plasma physics of high temperatures for the purpose of thermonuclear fusion reactions that will take place between the two isotopes of hydrogen (H), namely deuterium (D) and tritium (T). The main purpose of this chapter is to provide the necessary general background for scientists and engineers who are planning to enter the field of research into another source of clean energy via controlled thermonuclear reactions [1–3].
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