Important legal notice
Contact   |   Search   
Energy research

Homepage | News | Mission | Site map | FAQ | Links

 
 Eu and energy research

print version Print version

Non-nuclear energy

Inertial Confinement Fusion

Fission and radiation protection
Fusion
   

‘Keep-in-touch activity’ with inertial fusion

The LULI2000 experimental chamber at Ecole Polytechnique, France

The LULI2000 experimental chamber at Ecole Polytechnique, France

The main alternative to magnetic confinement fusion is Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) in which fusion reactions take place through thermonuclear micro-explosions initiated in small (~1 mm diameter) pellets filled with a mixture of deuterium/ tritium fusion fuel.

The pellets are compressed to a density of around 1 000 times greater than their normal density in the liquid state, using an intense laser or ion beam which rapidly heats the surface of the tiny pellet. This causes an inward push of hot plasma generated at the surface, which ignites the core of the pellet and the thermonuclear burn spreads out through the entire compressed fuel. Therefore, it is necessary with ICF to produce a series of very short pulses to provide steady state energy supply.

Twin laser chains at LULI2000 deliver 2 kJ of energy in a few nanoseconds

Twin laser chains at LULI2000 deliver 2 kJ of energy in a few nanoseconds

This technology has applications in nuclear weapons development and, because of the classified character of much of the research, the Council of EU Ministers have only foreseen a ‘keep-in-touch activity’ for ICF within the European Fusion Programme.

This monitoring activity of civil research in ICF is maintained by a number of competent laboratories supplying regular updates on progress in this field.

top