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Title: The Axisymmetric Tandem Mirror: A Magnetic Mirror Concept Game Changer Magnet Mirror Status Study Group

Abstract

Experimental results, theory and innovative ideas now point with increased confidence to the possibility of a Gas Dynamic Trap (GDT) neutron source which would be on the path to an attractively simple Axisymmetric Tandem Mirror (ATM) power plant. Although magnetic mirror research was terminated in the US 20 years ago, experiments continued in Japan (Gamma 10) and Russia (GDT), with a very small US effort. This research has now yielded data, increased understanding, and generated ideas resulting in the new concepts described here. Early mirror research was carried out with circular axisymmetric magnets. These plasmas were MHD unstable due to the unfavorable magnetic curvature near the mid-plane. Then the minimum-B concept emerged in which the field line curvature was everywhere favorable and the plasma was situated in a MHD stable magnetic well (70% average beta in 2XII-B). The Ioffe-bar or baseball-coil became the standard for over 40 years. In the 1980's, driven by success with minimum-B stabilization and the control of ion cyclotron instabilities in PR6 and 2XII-B, mirrors were viewed as a potentially attractive concept with near-term advantages as a lower Q neutron source for applications such as a hybrid fission fuel factory or toxic waste burner. However theremore » are down sides to the minimum-B geometry: coil construction is complex; restraining magnetic forces limit field strength and mirror ratios. Furthermore, the magnetic field lines have geodesic curvature which introduces resonant and neoclassical radial transport as observed in early tandem mirror experiments. So what now leads us to think that simple axisymmetric mirror plasmas can be stable? The Russian GDT experiment achieves on-axis 60% beta by peaking of the kinetic plasma pressure near the mirror throat (where the curvature is favorable) to counter-balance the average unfavorable mid-plane curvature. Then a modest augmentation of plasma pressure in the expander results in stability. The GDT experiments have confirmed the physics of effluent plasma stabilization predicted by theory. The plasma had a mean ion energy of 10 keV and a density of 5e19m-3. If successful, the axisymmetric tandem mirror extension of the GDT idea could lead to a Q {approx} 10 power plant of modest size and would yield important applications at lower Q. In addition to the GDT method, there are four other ways to augment stability that have been demonstrated; including: plasma rotation (MCX), diverter coils (Tara), pondermotive (Phaedrus & Tara), and end wall funnel shape (Nizhni Novgorod). There are also 5 stabilization techniques predicted, but not yet demonstrated: expander kinetic pressure (KSTM-Post), Pulsed ECH Dynamic Stabilization (Post), wall stabilization (Berk), non-paraxial end mirrors (Ryutov), and cusp ends (Kesner). While these options should be examined further together with conceptual engineering designs. Physics issues that need further analysis include: electron confinement, MHD and trapped particle modes, analysis of micro stability, radial transport, evaluation and optimization of Q, and the plasma density needed to bridge to the expansion-region. While promising all should be examined through increased theory effort, university-scale experiments, and through increased international collaboration with the substantial facilities in Russia and Japan The conventional wisdom of magnetic mirrors was that they would never work as a fusion concept for a number of reasons. This conventional wisdom is most probably all wrong or not applicable, especially for applications such as low Q (DT Neutron Source) aimed at materials testing or for a Q {approx} 3-5 fusion neutron source applied to destroying actinides in fission waste and breeding of fissile fuel.« less

Authors:
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Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
945844
Report Number(s):
LLNL-TR-408176
TRN: US0901251
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION; CUSPED GEOMETRIES; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC MIRRORS; MATERIALS TESTING; MINIMUM-B CONFIGURATIONS; MIRROR RATIO; MIRRORS; NEUTRON SOURCES; PLASMA; PLASMA DENSITY; PLASMA PRESSURE; POWER PLANTS; STABILITY; STABILIZATION; TANDEM MIRRORS

Citation Formats

Simonen, T, Cohen, R, Correll, D, Fowler, K, Post, D, Berk, H, Horton, W, Hooper, E B, Fisch, N, Hassam, A, Baldwin, D, Pearlstein, D, Logan, G, Turner, B, Moir, R, Molvik, A, Ryutov, D, Ivanov, A A, Kesner, J, Cohen, B, McLean, H, Tamano, T, Tang, X Z, and Imai, T. The Axisymmetric Tandem Mirror: A Magnetic Mirror Concept Game Changer Magnet Mirror Status Study Group. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.2172/945844.
Simonen, T, Cohen, R, Correll, D, Fowler, K, Post, D, Berk, H, Horton, W, Hooper, E B, Fisch, N, Hassam, A, Baldwin, D, Pearlstein, D, Logan, G, Turner, B, Moir, R, Molvik, A, Ryutov, D, Ivanov, A A, Kesner, J, Cohen, B, McLean, H, Tamano, T, Tang, X Z, & Imai, T. The Axisymmetric Tandem Mirror: A Magnetic Mirror Concept Game Changer Magnet Mirror Status Study Group. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/945844
Simonen, T, Cohen, R, Correll, D, Fowler, K, Post, D, Berk, H, Horton, W, Hooper, E B, Fisch, N, Hassam, A, Baldwin, D, Pearlstein, D, Logan, G, Turner, B, Moir, R, Molvik, A, Ryutov, D, Ivanov, A A, Kesner, J, Cohen, B, McLean, H, Tamano, T, Tang, X Z, and Imai, T. Fri . "The Axisymmetric Tandem Mirror: A Magnetic Mirror Concept Game Changer Magnet Mirror Status Study Group". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/945844. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/945844.
@article{osti_945844,
title = {The Axisymmetric Tandem Mirror: A Magnetic Mirror Concept Game Changer Magnet Mirror Status Study Group},
author = {Simonen, T and Cohen, R and Correll, D and Fowler, K and Post, D and Berk, H and Horton, W and Hooper, E B and Fisch, N and Hassam, A and Baldwin, D and Pearlstein, D and Logan, G and Turner, B and Moir, R and Molvik, A and Ryutov, D and Ivanov, A A and Kesner, J and Cohen, B and McLean, H and Tamano, T and Tang, X Z and Imai, T},
abstractNote = {Experimental results, theory and innovative ideas now point with increased confidence to the possibility of a Gas Dynamic Trap (GDT) neutron source which would be on the path to an attractively simple Axisymmetric Tandem Mirror (ATM) power plant. Although magnetic mirror research was terminated in the US 20 years ago, experiments continued in Japan (Gamma 10) and Russia (GDT), with a very small US effort. This research has now yielded data, increased understanding, and generated ideas resulting in the new concepts described here. Early mirror research was carried out with circular axisymmetric magnets. These plasmas were MHD unstable due to the unfavorable magnetic curvature near the mid-plane. Then the minimum-B concept emerged in which the field line curvature was everywhere favorable and the plasma was situated in a MHD stable magnetic well (70% average beta in 2XII-B). The Ioffe-bar or baseball-coil became the standard for over 40 years. In the 1980's, driven by success with minimum-B stabilization and the control of ion cyclotron instabilities in PR6 and 2XII-B, mirrors were viewed as a potentially attractive concept with near-term advantages as a lower Q neutron source for applications such as a hybrid fission fuel factory or toxic waste burner. However there are down sides to the minimum-B geometry: coil construction is complex; restraining magnetic forces limit field strength and mirror ratios. Furthermore, the magnetic field lines have geodesic curvature which introduces resonant and neoclassical radial transport as observed in early tandem mirror experiments. So what now leads us to think that simple axisymmetric mirror plasmas can be stable? The Russian GDT experiment achieves on-axis 60% beta by peaking of the kinetic plasma pressure near the mirror throat (where the curvature is favorable) to counter-balance the average unfavorable mid-plane curvature. Then a modest augmentation of plasma pressure in the expander results in stability. The GDT experiments have confirmed the physics of effluent plasma stabilization predicted by theory. The plasma had a mean ion energy of 10 keV and a density of 5e19m-3. If successful, the axisymmetric tandem mirror extension of the GDT idea could lead to a Q {approx} 10 power plant of modest size and would yield important applications at lower Q. In addition to the GDT method, there are four other ways to augment stability that have been demonstrated; including: plasma rotation (MCX), diverter coils (Tara), pondermotive (Phaedrus & Tara), and end wall funnel shape (Nizhni Novgorod). There are also 5 stabilization techniques predicted, but not yet demonstrated: expander kinetic pressure (KSTM-Post), Pulsed ECH Dynamic Stabilization (Post), wall stabilization (Berk), non-paraxial end mirrors (Ryutov), and cusp ends (Kesner). While these options should be examined further together with conceptual engineering designs. Physics issues that need further analysis include: electron confinement, MHD and trapped particle modes, analysis of micro stability, radial transport, evaluation and optimization of Q, and the plasma density needed to bridge to the expansion-region. While promising all should be examined through increased theory effort, university-scale experiments, and through increased international collaboration with the substantial facilities in Russia and Japan The conventional wisdom of magnetic mirrors was that they would never work as a fusion concept for a number of reasons. This conventional wisdom is most probably all wrong or not applicable, especially for applications such as low Q (DT Neutron Source) aimed at materials testing or for a Q {approx} 3-5 fusion neutron source applied to destroying actinides in fission waste and breeding of fissile fuel.},
doi = {10.2172/945844},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/945844}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2008},
month = {10}
}