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Russian scientists fine-tune functioning of nuclear fission reactors

November 15, 2016, 11:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian physicists have put forward a way to enhance the functioning of the tokamak, one of the models of the nuclear fission reactor

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MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/. Physicists from Russia’s Peter the Great Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) have put forward a way to enhance the functioning of the tokamak, one of the models of the nuclear fission reactor, the press-service of SPbPU reported. Saint Petersburg scientists have conducted evaluations for the "unstick mode" which may upgrade a reactor’s ability to withstand wear-and-tear.

Tokamak (the Russian acronym for "toroidal chamber with magnetic coils") is one of the models of a thermonuclear reactor. Magnetic coils confine the plasma in which the reaction of controlled thermonuclear synthesis is occurring. The tokamak principle will be the foundation for a future reactor in the international project, ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). It is supposed to become the world’s very first nuclear-fission reactor capable of showing all commercial benefits from using nuclear fusion energy, which is almost inexhaustible and safe.

The plasma in the tokamak is confined not by the chamber walls, but by the magnetic field as modern materials cannot endure the temperature needed for nuclear reactions. However, when the tokamak is operating, the energy released nevertheless ends up on the inner walls of a reactor resulting in its deterioration. To solve the problem, researchers from SPbPU have suggested the so-called "unstick mode" where special admixtures are injected into the reactor via a diverter, a device for online removal of waste material from the reactor. These admixtures control the behavior of plasma and do not allow energy currents to come in touch with the chamber walls.

"Scientists from SPbPU have demonstrated the method’s efficiency and modeled this regime by means of a numerical code known as SOLPS-ITER which has been developed in close collaboration with our European colleagues," said Vladimir Rozhansky, Chairman of the Department of Plasma Physics.

The "unstick mode" will be implemented in the modern tokamaks and in the ITER tokamak and its construction in the South France will be completed in 2025.

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