General Atomics-Led Team Conducts Study on Fusion Reactor Erosion Damage

Jeff Brody

A group of scientists led by General Atomics has deployed modeling technology to discover the potential capacity of energetic ions to erode the internal portion of nuclear fusion tokamaks.

The team compared modeling predictions and experimental data from the DIII-D National Fusion Facility and found that “edge-localized modes“ or plasma ejection events that occur within the tokamak are the primary cause of inner wall erosion and that decreasing ELM intensity helps mitigate damage, General Atomics said Monday.

The results of the study, published in the Physics of Plasmas scientific journal, may be used to inform the consruction of future fusion power plants including the ITER experiment in France.

Tyler Abrams, a plasma physicist at General Atomics, noted that further assessments into ELM control methods can help “dictate the operational conditions we need for future commercial fusion power plants to be viable.“

General Atomics currently operates the DIII-D fusion research facility for the Energy Department's Office of Science.

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