The programme’s purpose is to provide the scientific foundation for the commercial development of fusion power.
Designing and building fusion reactors requires a detailed understanding of how the hot, turbulent plasma fuel behaves inside tokamaks. CCFE’s Tokamak Science Department combines theoretical physics studies, advanced computer modelling and experimental data to learn more about plasma behaviour and improve the performance of future fusion devices.
Key topics include:
An efficient fusion reactor must keep losses of energy and particles from the plasma to a minimum. Improving a tokamak’s ability to confine the plasma means future fusion power stations could be smaller and more efficient.
When the plasma current, pressure or density are raised too high the plasma can become unstable. Failure to curb instabilities can mean plasma performance is reduced, or control of the plasma is lost and components can be damaged.
The tokamak’s exhaust system (known as the ‘divertor’) processes spent fuel and heat ejected from the plasma. The plasma must be cool enough where it meets surfaces in the divertor to ensure that any damage is minimal. Pollution of the plasma by impurities from these surfaces must also be avoided.