The Technical and Engineering Challenges of Fusion Reactors
Joseph V. Minervini
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The world scientific community has spent decades developing and refining magnetic confinement fusion theory and experimental devices for the ultimate goal of safely, effectively, and economically generating power from a nuclear fusion reaction. The most important embodiment of the high level of progress achieved is the large-scale ITER project currently being built by seven major international countries. ITER is a large-scale scientific experiment that aims to demonstrate that it is possible to produce commercial energy from fusion. Although ITER is a scientific experiment with a goal to demonstrate a burning plasma fusion reaction, it is also a fundamental demonstration of many of the major technologies required to eventually lead to a commercial fusion reactor, with the exception of the electric power production. This talk will highlight the technological and engineering challenges of magnetically confined fusion reactors and show details of the design of the major ITER components, both magnetic, and nuclear. A major focus will be on the design and fabrication status of the large-scale superconducting magnet systems.