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NE 180

Course Title: 
Introduction to Controlled Fusion
Course Units: 
Catalog Description: 
  • Introduction to energy production by controlled thermonuclear reactions. Nuclear fusion reactions, energy balances for fusion systems, survey of plasma physics; neutral beam injection, RF heating methods, vacuum systems, tritium handling.
Course Prerequisite: 
  • Physics 7C
Prerequisite Knowledge and/or Skills: 
  • be familiar with unit conversions, e. g. eV to J, amu to kg, etc.
  • use Maxwell's equations in vector form
  • calculate reaction rates using cross sections
Course Objectives: 
  • familiarize students with the basic possibilities for energy production by fusion reactions
  • show how energy production and loss processes work in a plasma
  • illustrate various magnetic and inertial fusion confinement schemes and describe the physical basis for them
  • show the necessary technological elements of fusion reactors and areas of current problems in their development
Course Outcomes: 
  • perform energy balance calculations for fusion systems with various heating and energy recovery systems
  • solve MHD plasma equilibrium equations for simple confinement geometries
  • analyze material constraints on proposed fusion reactor schemes
  • calculate radiation loss from plasmas with impurities
  • calculate reactor ion heat conduction from neoclassical theory
  • understand differences between magnetic and inertial fusion confinement schemes
  • perform simple calculations for waveguides and transmission lines for RF heating systems
  • understand differences in various driver schemes for inertial confinement fusion
  • understand the requirements for safe handling of tritium at fusion reactor sites
Topics Covered: 
  • Cross Sections
  • Confinement Concepts
  • Lawson Criterion
  • Bremsstrahlung
  • Atomic Physics
  • MHD equilibrium
  • MHD Stability
  • Inertial Confinement
  • Lasers
  • Magnetic Fusion heating systems
  • Vacuum systems
  • Tritium handling
  • Superconducting magnets
Textbook(s) and/or Other Required Materials: 
  • Fusion Research, Vol. 1, by T. Dolan, Pergamon Press, 1982
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 
  • This is primarily a lecture course, meeting three times a week for 50-minute lectures.
Contribution of Course to Meeting the Professional Component: 
  • This course contributes primarily to the students' knowledge of engineering topics, and does provide design experience.
  • The course provides basic knowledge for those nuclear engineers who will work in the field of fusion energy development. It stresses the basic physical and technological concepts which are used in development of future fusion power systems.
Relationship of Course to Degree Program Objectives: 
  • This course primarily serves students in the department. The information below describes how the course contributes to the undergraduate program objectives.
  • This course contributes to the undergraduate curriculum as an elective course providing background in a number of subject areas of interest to those interested in a career in fusion research. It complements courses in the fission power area by showing the common denominator of heat transfer and neutronics involved in nuclear power plant construction.
Assessment of Student Progress Toward Course Objectives: 
  • Bi-weekly problem sets: 20%
  • Two midterm Exams 20% (each)
  • Final Exam: 40%