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Fusion Technology - PHY00005M

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  • Department: Physics
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Bruce Lipschultz
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

To give students an overview of the complex science and technology issues associated with future fusion reactors and their relationship to the underlying physics. The course is designed to connect to associated plasma physics based courses on magnetic and inertial confinement fusion, by describing the major science and engineering problems that need to be overcome for fusion to become a viable source of electricity production. Course lectures are presented over one week to enable intensive concentration on relevant physics and technology issues and to enable guest lecturers from fusion laboratories to present material.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of this module successful students will be able to:

  • Give an overview of the main components in fusion reactor designs
  • Outline the principal technological problems that need to be addressed in order to realise the potential of fusion power as a source of electricity production
  • Use provided basic software analysis tools to model neutron transport in a fusion reactor, particularly the blanket (tritium breeding as well as deposition of the fusion neutron heat)
  • Describe the main features of the tritium cycle within a fusion reactor and outline methods to control the tritium inventory in a reactor.
  • Identify and explain the technologies associated with heating and confinement of fusion plasmas for both ICF and MCF
  • Understand the technologies and materials drivers in the economics of a fusion reactor.

Module content


  • Overview of Fusion reactor design: Plasma conditions for fusion burn or ignition. Economic and environmental consequences of fusion materials and system design choices.
  • First wall, plasma facing & structural materials: Neutron damage of materials. Introduction to neutronics and neutron transport calculations.
  • Divertor high heat-flux and erosion handling issues and relationship to plasma and atomic physics. We will also cover the importance of tritium retention, tritium handling and safety issues.
  • Specialist fusion technology systems: Heating and current drive engineering. Neutral beam systems. Wave heating and current drive systems.
  • Lasers and heavy ion beam drivers for ICF systems. Targets, injection and tracking systems for ICF.
  • The ITER device and DEMO reactor.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 15
1.5 hours 85

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Weekly problems due weekly through ~ week 7, essay due end of term


Task Length % of module mark
1.5 hours 85

Module feedback

Our policy on how you receive feedback for formative and summative purposes is contained in our Department Handbook.

Indicative reading

  • Principles of Fusion Energy by A.A. Harms et al.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.