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Abstract

There has been widespread and rapid progress in controlling and confining high temperature plasmas. In magnetic confinement systems it is now routine to create and sustain plasmas at temperatures of <10**7K for times of the order of a second. Energy confinement times of 1/10 second are obtained and the Lawson criterion at values are within a factor of ten of those which are needed in a D-T ignition system. The JET experiment which should come into initial operation in 1983, will be Western Europe's major contribution to closing the remaining gap. Much of the progress has come from Tokamak-type toroidal pinches, however results on other systems indicate that there may be some advantages in these alternative concepts. A major new approach to fusion - inertial confinement which has developed over the past eight years or so, has succeeded in compressing plasma to high densities with the attainment of high ion and electron temperatures. Both systems will require major technological developments to form the basis of a practical reactor system. The developments needed for a fusion reactor have been surveyed and lead to the broad conclusion that fusion can make an energy contribution early in the next century. It may be desirable to speed up the pace of development by defining the next big stage after JET in Europe and the Tokamak fusion test reactor in the USA.

Additional information

Authors: ROBINSON D C CULHAM LABORATORY, ABINGDON, OXON. (UK), CULHAM LABORATORY, ABINGDON, OXON. (UK)
Bibliographic Reference: PHYSICS AND CONTEMPORARY NEEDS, VOL. 5 (1983), PP. 109-161
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