Proposal for a thermonuclear fusion reactor






This untested invention will provide electrical power by direct conversion from a contained thermonuclear fusion reaction of hydrogen nuclei.


The containment is by a radio frequency current in a helical toroidal coil around a pyrex vessel containing low pressure hydrogen.


The radio frequency current ionises the gas and the ionisation current repels the exciting current and then mutual repulsion contains the ionised gas near the centre circle of the toriod.


Experiment has shown that the repulsion near the windings is greater than near the centre circle so any drift away is instantly corrected.


Power is collected by a mutual inductive winding.  There are no turbines or other conversion devices.



  1. Magnetism

  2. Magnetic Field Due to A current first experiments

  3. Inductance


  5. Force on a tube of current

  6. Fusion

  7. Electricity From Fire

  8. Plasma Engine

  9. Power Level Calculation

  10. Plasma Containment Test

  11. Proposed Thermonuclear Reactor

  12. My Tukomak Calculator

  13. Letter to Culham

  14. Patent Application

  15. Unreasonable Request

  16. Power Controller

Note the two downloads have been updated to correct a serious error.


Yesterday (15-06-2005) I visited JET at Culham and looked over the facilities. We had a lecture on the reason for developing fusion and what fusion was.

This is a view of the interior of a full scale mock-up of the reactor vessel used to test the robots that service the reactor since the reaction makes the material of which it is constructed radio active.  I would have to stoop to enter.

The reactor itself I could not approach because the stent in my chest would be affected by a magnetic field so I saw the mock-up where robots were tested.

I was surprised they used tritium as fuel because the reaction that produces helium gives of neutrons in large quantities and I was amazed that these neutrons were to be captured in a lithium blanket that got hot and this heat raised heat to drive a steam turbine.

The basic principle is that the energy of helium 4 is less than the four protons that fuse to make it. This energy difference is the binding energy and He4 is lighter than four protons because of the rest mass energy difference. During this reaction two of the four protons decay to a neutron and a positron and the two positrons annihilate with two electrons to generate two gamma ray photons.

If deuterium is used then the energy barrier to make helium 4 is less and some helium 3 is produced releasing neutrons.

Deuterium was used also and mixtures of tritium and deuterium. With this helium 4 and neutrons are produced but there will be both tritium-tritium and deuterium-deuterium as well tritium-deuterium interactions.

I do not see why neutrons are produced with deuterium-deuterium or the four proton reaction.

Normally protons are kept apart by electrostatic repulsion but when the gas is hot their average velocity increases and at sufficiently high temperatures the protons can approach each other closely to they polarise each other and polarons are exchanged. These are the quantum equivalent of the classic polarisation of charged bodies closely approaching. If the approach is close enough these polarons become energetic enough to be mesons and the particles strongly attract each other when they fuse a gamma photon is emitted which carries away the binding energy and imparts kinetic energy to the combination, thus increasing the temperature. A short time later a positron is emitted that makes the proton-neutron combination stable this imparts more kinetic energy to the gas and the positron annihilates with an electron to give a gamma photon pair at about 0.5 MeV.

They use tritium because the energy barrier to fuse to helium is lower than that of protons.

The reactor was huge and used very high electric currents to contain the ionised gas and heat it to 200 million K. There is only about 100 mg of tritium in the vessel.

It did seem a very clumsy and complicated way of producing power. The containing toroidal magnet coil windings did keep the ions in regular orbits but there was no repulsive force between these windings and the poloidal current so the plasma occupied the whole cavity and was only out of contact with the walls for a few seconds.

Another current did repel this plasma current and these windings were driven with currents controlled by a feedback control system to keep the ionised gas inside the cavity without contact with the wall.

I find that using neutron flux to transfer energy a bad idea because neutrons are dangerous and cause neutron activation which makes materials radioactive for several years.

The method I proposed (see previous signal) uses protons and the neutron flux produced would be low or zero. The energy created is tapped by electromagnetic interaction with plasma to generate electricity at about 28 MHz.

I suggest that gamma photons and much other electromagnetic radiation as well as protons and alpha particles would be prevented from leaving the contained plasma because of electron density in the ionised gas as the pressure increases.

I will not repeat the details of my proposed thermonuclear reactor as interested people will already have this.

I was interested in all the complicated control and monitoring system and the use of laser light to measure the electron density in the test plasma. I suppose you use a scintillation counter to measure the neutron flux to measure the rate of fusion and a calorimeter to measure the power produced.

This is big science as all nuclear physics is and I was surprised at how big.

What really surprised me was how crude it is and how old the computers in the control room were.

Quite suitable for "red dwarf", I would think it would be a good film set for a science fiction movie. However the reactor design is unsuitable for star ship propulsion as these cannot have so much weight and steam turbines are no-go in space ship design.

If you really want a useful design think small, light and with direct electrical energy generation from the plasma. Since this is a conductor an electromagnetic interaction is easy to envisage as my design utilises.

I cannot see me visiting again and I'm too old for work at your lab, but it was interesting and I'm glad I came. If you could find me a niche as a staff member for the remaining two years of my working life then I would be overjoyed. However I would insist on my idea being properly tested.