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Issues in Formation of Cryogenic Pellets for Fusion Applications...

by Larry R Baylor, Steven J Meitner, Gerald E Gebhart Iii
Publication Type
Journal Name
Fusion Science and Technology
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 10

ryogenic pellets are used for injection into fusion plasmas to add fuel to build up density and replace the ions lost from fusion reactions and imperfect confinement in the plasma. These pellets are formed at cryogenic temperatures with pure hydrogenic isotopes or mixtures of the isotopes. Technology to make these pellets and inject them into plasmas has been under development for many years, and various methods using freezing or desublimation have been shown to produce high-quality solid pellets suitable for injection. The throughput needed and possible impurity content from the necessary recirculation of fusion exhaust gases are two of the key issues to overcome for fusion pellet fueling systems in long-pulse burning plasmas. Here, we describe the technical challenges associated with these issues and the capability of pellet formation extruders to overcome them.

Cryogenic pellets of deuterium, neon, and argon are also used in fusion tokamak devices for disruption mitigation in the form of large pellets that can be injected on demand to quickly dissipate the plasma thermal energy through radiation and add significant density in order to prevent runaway electron formation. Here, the issue is not throughput as with the fueling pellets but rather is the time it takes to form pellets of the size needed and the ability to dislodge them immediately on demand when needed to mitigate a disruption. The method used to make these pellets by desublimation is described, and examples related to how pellet size and input gas parameters affect the formation time are provided.