Feasibility of a Colliding Beam Fusion Reactor

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Science  17 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5375, pp. 305m-307m
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5375.305m

N. Rostoker et al. proposed (21 Nov., p. 1419) a “colliding beam fusion reactor” with “an alternate confinement system, the field-reversed configuration [that would confine] beams of protons and boron-11.” The design might “solve the major problems of Tokamak reactors.” W. M. Nevins discusses “nonthermal ion distributions” and concludes that “the fusion gain … would be much lower than the value of 2.7 stated by Rostoker et al.” A. Carlson comments that “a large power input would … be required” and that maintaining equilibrium would be “a serious problem.” Rostoker et al. respond to Nevins by providing detailed calculations “of heating of electrons by boron scattering.” They address Carlson's concerns by presenting a “formula for the power density required to overcome the friction between proton and boron beams” that includes the force of the magnetic field. The full text of these comments can be seen at www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/281/5375/307a

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