The SPARC Fusion reactor team have made good theoretical progress to the goal of a commercial nuclear fusion reactor. SPARC is a compact, high-field, DT burning tokamak, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Commonwealth Fusion Systems.
The SPARC design with a 12.2 tesla magnetic field and 8.7 megaamps and Ion Cyclotron Range of Frequency Heating (ICRF) power up to 25 MW targets a minimum fusion gain over double the input power with output power. SPARC should get over ten times the input power (Q > 10) and 140 MW of fusion. This would mean SPARC will be burning plasma at those performance levels.
The SPARC project was launched in early 2018. they have been working on the superconducting magnets that are key to making the fusion system much smaller.
There are now seven new peer-reviewed papers that detail the underlying physics basis for the SPARC machine.
CFS and MIT’s PSFC are building the advanced magnets that will allow CFS to build significantly smaller and lower-cost fusion power plants. They are on track to build a successful 20 Tesla, large-bore magnet in 2021. The magnets will then be used in SPARC, which is on track to begin construction in 2021 and demonstrate net energy gain from fusion for the first time in history by 2025. SPARC will pave the way for the first commercially viable fusion power plant called ARC.
Ion cyclotron range of frequencies (ICRF) heating will be the sole auxiliary heating method on SPARC.
SOURCES – Cambridge, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Journal of Plasma Physics
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
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