Lecture Summaries

Summaries of the lecture content will be uploaded here over the next few weeks.  Please click on the speaker names to see their bios.

York Week – 19th – 22nd June 2023

Monday 19th June – University of York, Heslington East Campus

11:00-12:30 – Fusion Energy: the conditions & approaches Howard Wilson, University of  York

This presentation will introduce the background to fusion energy and the conditions required to produce it. The basic fusion process will be described, focussing mainly on the reaction between two heavy forms of hydrogen – deuterium (D) and tritium (T). The so-called “triple product” will be motivated and defined as the quantity that characterises the proximity of the DT fuel conditions to those required for a commercially viable fusion power plant. These include a temperature about ten times hotter than at the centre of the sun, and requires a sufficiently effective system to confine the DT fuel at this temperature. The fuel is then in a state called plasma, which will be defined and characterised. Two broad approaches are being explored to access fusion energy conditions – inertial confinement and magnetic confinement, which will be described. Some of the different fusion concepts in each scheme will be discussed. The presentation will close with a discussion of the large breadth of science and technology that must be brought together to realise a commercially viable fusion power plant, signposting the topics to be covered in the subsequent lectures of the school.

13:30 – 15:00 – Plasma Physics for Fusion Industry Nick Walkden, Frazer Nash

15:30 – 17:00 –  Materials Science for Fusion Industry Amy Gandy, University of Sheffield

Tuesday 20th June – University of York, Heslington East Campus

09:00 – 10:30 – The Tokamak Garry Voss,UKAEA

The Tokamak configuration for magnetic confinement of plasma was first proposed in Russia in the 1950’s and has been adopted by most magnetically confined fusion research bodies as the preferred configuration. The geometry and terminology used to define the Tokamak will be introduced including the differences between the conventional Tokamaks (like JET and ITER) and the spherical Tokamak (like MAST-U and STEP). The main components of a Tokamak and their functions will be outlined including:
Toroidal field coils: These produce a magnetic field in the toroidal direction and are either formed from copper conductors or from superconductors which offer no resistive power loss.
Poloidal field coils: These produce a magnetic field in the poloidal direction. This combines with the toroidal field to form an efficient plasma confinement and shaping system.
The 1st wall: This faces the plasma and is subjected to high thermal loads due to radiation and particle flux as well as a volumetric heating due to neutron irradiation in fusion conditions. Materials such as graphite and tungsten are often used here.

The blanket: This is needed to breed the tritium fuel for the fusion reaction. It is located directly behind the 1st wall and contains lithium in the form of a ceramic, liquid metal or salt, which produces tritium when subjected to a neutron flux. A multiplier such as beryllium or lead is often included in the blanket to increase the number of neutrons and hence tritium breeding.
Divertor: The level of impurities and helium particles in the plasma needs to be controlled by allowing them to pass outwards to a scrape-off-layer which surrounds the plasma. This is then diverted to target plates at the top and/or at the bottom of the plasma. The heat loads and erosion rates on these target plates can be very high and their design often limits the size and power of the Tokamak.

Main support structure/cryostat: This reacts the loads induced on the coils, 1 st wall and blanket structures and so holds the device together.

11:00-12:30 – Heating and Current Drive Technology – Radio Frequency Mark Henderson, UKAEA

13:30 – 15:00 – Tokamak Operational Scenarios Fernanda Rimini, UKAEA

Wednesday 21st June – University of York, Heslington East Campus

09:00 – 10:30 – Diagnostics and Control Hartmut Zohm, IPP Garching

11:00-12:30 – Inertial Confinement Fusion Nigel Woolsey, University of York & Hugo Doyle, First Light Fusion

Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) is an exciting avenue for energy production. The approach uses a powerful driver to rapidly compress deuterium and tritium fuel to immense pressures to ignite fusion reactions and release energy as an intense, short-lived pulse. A power station requires repeating this process continuously and possibly many times per second. The validity and the feasibility of this approach was unambiguously demonstrated in December using the National Ignition Facility which, for the first time, achieved fusion gain exceeding one. This experiment used 192 laser beams containing 2 million Joules to release 3.5 million Joules of fusion energy from a 2-millimetre diameter diamond spherical shell containing 0.2 milligrams of deuterium and tritium. The fusion reaction occurred in less than 0.1 billionths of a second.

In this discussion, we will introduce you to the basic concepts of inertial confinement fusion and explore the impact of the National Ignition Facility result. We will also examine current research by unpicking some of the experimental and computation tools used to explore the science that occurs in the extreme conditions of an inertial fusion plasma. Furthermore, we will highlight two approaches to inertial confinement fusion the first uses powerful lasers such as the National Ignition Facility, and the second is First Light Fusion Ltd., a unique approach that utilises hypervelocity projectiles. Hugo Doyle, the Head of Experimental Physics at First Light Fusion, will discuss a vision for a fusion reactor and highlight the engineering and materials challenges that projectile drive fusion and other  fusion approaches must overcome.

All fusion schemes hold promise as a sustainable and low-carbon-free energy source, and its implementation is uncertain. It will require overcoming significant scientific and engineering challenges, by understanding the underlying principles and exploring different approaches, we can pave the way for a brighter and cleaner energy future.

13:30 – 15:00 –Panel Session, EU Fusion Landscape Hartmut Zohm, IPP Garching, Chinese Fusion Landscape Jiangang Li, IPP Hefei, US Fusion LandscapeAnn White, MIT, US

15:30 – 17:00 – Panel Session, (cont.) (tbc)

Thursday 22nd June – University of York, Heslington East Campus

09:00 – 10:30 – Fuelling a tokamak Rachel Lawless, UKAEA

11:00-12:30 – Nuclear/Neutronics Analysis of Fusion Systems (tbc)

13:30 – 15:00 – Plasma Exhaust and divertor design in Tokamaks Jan Coenan, Forschungszentrum Juelich

One of the Crucial Points when realising fusion is the understanding of Plasma Wall Interaction and Power Exhaust. In modern Magnetic Confinement Fusion Devices such as the Tokamak exhaust is realised in a component called the Divertor. In this lecture the basics of plasma wall interaction (PWI) as well as power exhaust will be discussed . Plasma Wall interaction and Power Exhaust relate directly to two aspects of fusion devices – the plasma performance and divertor component design options. Hence after introducing the main mechanisms of basic PWI and Power exhaust we will discuss the options for modern divertors as well as potential limitations due to materials and the feedback of such interaction on the plasma system. In the lecture we will also discuss the current design option considered for the next step designs such as ITER and DEMO and highlight some path forward to more advanced setups.

15:30 – 17:00 – Digital Approaches to Design in Fusion Andrew Davis, UKAEA

Oxfordshire Week – 25th – 28th September 2023

The Oxfordshire week will be hosted by University of Oxford Materials Department and UKAEA and will include one day at Culham Science Centre and three days at Keble College.

Monday 25th September – Keble College

09:30 – 11:00 – The UK fusion programme in the international landscape Ian Chapman, UKAEA

11:30- 13:00 – Materials Technology for Fusion Aneeqa Khan, University of  Manchester

14:00 – 15:30 – Tritium and Fuelling Technologies Tamsin Jackson, UKAEA

16:00 – 17:30 – Magnets and Magnet Technology Susie Speller, University of Oxford

Tuesday 26th September – Culham Science Centre

09:00 – 10:30 – Manufacturing for Fusion, Lee Aucott, UKAEA

11:00-12:30 – Breeding blanket design, Sam Murphy, University of Lancaster

Wednesday 27th September – Keble College

09:00 – 10:30 –Plasma Heating and Current Drive Systems – neutral beam injection Ursel Fantz, IPP Garching

11:00-12:30 – System and Plant Maintenance Rob Skilton, UKAEA

13:30 – 15:00 – Socio-economics of Fusion Energy Niek Lopes Cardozo, Technical University of Eindhoven

15:30 – 17:00 – Panel Session (tbc)

Thursday 28th September – Keble College

09:00 – 10:30 – Fusion Waste and Waste Management Mark Gilbert, UKAEA

The neutrons generated in fusion reactors will impinge on surrounding materials leading to the activation of those materials via nuclear reactions. Current predictions from numerical simulations indicate that future fusion reactors are likely to produce significant quantities of radioactive waste. This is a technological and societal challenge for fusion that must be addressed through careful engineering of materials, waste processing and handling, as well as through revised regulatory approaches to the handling of radioactive waste from fusion power plants.

In this presentation I will introduce the methodology behind the simulations of activation and waste that is performed by UKAEA’s FISPACT-II inventory solver. As well as waste assessment, FISPACT-II supports understanding of shielding requirements and the planning of maintenance, which is constrained by the short lived activation of materials. Inventory simulations also calculate transmutation and gas production, which must be accurately understood to inform lifetime predictions of materials whose properties can be altered by transmutation products.

In the second half of the presentation, I will discuss the current waste assessment predictions for the EU-DEMO fusion reactor design, with a particular focus on understanding the origin of long-lived radioactivity in critical fusion materials. These detailed assessments, facilitated by FISPACT-II can help to guide revised requirements on materials compositions, as well as the requirements for waste treatment.

11:00-12:30 – Fusion Powerplant Safety and Regulation Sally Forbes, UKAEA

13:30 – 15:00 – Engineering Delivery Rachel Packer, Atkins

15:30 – 17:00 – Systems Integration Chris Waldon, UKAEA