General Atomics Helps Develop Fusion Plasma Cooling Approach at DOE Facility

Jeff Brody

A multi-institutional team led by General Atomics physicist Houyang Guo has discovered an approach to manage the amount of heat within the interior walls of a tokamak the company operates for the Department of Energy.

The small angle slot divertor works to facilitate neutral cooling and prevent wall damage at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility’s plasma structure during operation, General Atomics said Thursday.

“Advanced divertor solutions are critical to future fusion reactors because there are limits to the energy that plasma-facing components can absorb,“ Guo said.

“To make such reactors reliably operate for many years, we need ways to more efficiently dissipate heat for steady-state operation.”

The SAS divertor concept seeks to dissipate the heat flow along a tokamak’s magnetic lines and lower the temperature of the escaping plasma before it reaches the reactor’s walls.

General Atomics noted that one method for lowering the temperature will involve the creation of a gas cushion that will trap cold particles between the divertor surface and the heat flux. DIII-D scientists demonstrated the approach during a series of experiments.

The project marks a step toward bringing fusion energy technology to the commercial market.

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