Chapter 548: Full Power Ahead
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
The beginning of October.
The construction site was lively.
There were several heavy-duty trucks parked on the side of the construction site. With the help from the on-site construction crew and lifting equipment, they carefully unloaded the shipment.
Lu Zhou was standing next to him, watching the heavy equipment being transported onto the site. Xiao Le spoke emotionally, We were going to sell this thing to ITER, but Im guessing they probably wont buy it anymore.
The device in front of these two people was the legendary ion cyclotron resonance heating antenna.
This device consisted of four componentsthe transmitter, the transmission line, the impedance matcher, and the most important component, heating antenna. The RF output energy could reach 3MW and the frequency could be adjusted between 30-110MHZ.
This was one of the key components of the fusion machine. This was probably one of the most advanced pieces of technology, second only to the superconducting D-shape design from the Fuyang Institute Construction Material Laboratory.
In addition to being purchased by the General Atomics company, this billion-dollar equipment also received orders from the ITER demonstration reactor project.
But now, it seemed that the Europeans probably wouldnt buy it anymore.
Xiao Le paused for a second and said, This equipment was originally intended to be dismantled and shipped all the way to France. However, our cooperation with ITER has obviously been interrupted. Using this piece of equipment, we can quickly heat the plasma inside the reactor to more than 100 million degrees! This is one of the most advanced pieces of plasma heating equipment in the world!
Lu Zhou nodded and looked at the equipment with interest.
Even though it was called the ion cyclotron resonance heating antenna, rather than looking like an antenna, this thing looked more like a gigantic air conditioner.
The shape of the steel frame for the entire machine was similar to that of an air conditioner. The limiter and current band attached on the outside of the machine looked like an air filter and fan blade.
Further to the back were the tubular vacuum transmission lines, hydraulic drives, and the important vacuum feed ports.
During an experiment, the protection limiter was the air-conditioner fan blade, which was located at the front of the ICRF[1.Ion cyclotron resonance heating] antenna. This, combined with the current band, constituted the plasma heating components and the Faraday shielding box. This isolated the plasma from the charged current while the plasma was heating, it also prevented the electric field from coupling into the plasma.
Since the plasma was in a vacuum chamber, there were also 43 cooling pipes with a diameter of 10 mm on the outside of the machine.
Even though the whole machine looked complicated and humongous, it lacked some of the classic science fiction aesthetics. However, nothing about the design was unnecessary; each solder joint had been carefully designed.
Therefore, it wasnt an easy task to change the design of this thing.
Suddenly, an old engineer, who was wearing a hard hat and a gray coat, came over. He looked at Lu Zhou and smiled.
How is it? Looks pretty good, right?
Lu Zhou smiled and said, Looks pretty reliable. I just hope it will work normally on the stellarator.
The old engineer waved his hand and said, Rest assured. Even if it doesnt work now, we promise to make it work eventually.
The old man standing in front of Lu Zhou was called Li Jiangang. He was an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was also the vice president of the Institute of Materials Science at the University of Science and Technology of China.
The old man was previously researching marine power plants, but somehow, he ended up in the field of plasma physics. He was caught in the wave of the 90s scientific revolution when controllable fusion became more and more popular. His academic career had been nothing but success. He first became a vice president, then became an academician.
Before China withdrew from ITER, he was also one of Chinas expert committee members. When the ion cyclotron resonance heating technology was internationally recognized, his work on this piece of technology was crucial.
Now that China withdrew from ITER, he became a consultant for the Execution Center. He was also responsible for coordinating the involvement of the Fuyang Institute Construction Material Laboratory in the demonstration reactor project, specifically, the entire heating component of the reactor.
Xiao Le, standing next to Lu Zhou, was one of his students recommended by him.
Lu Zhou had a lot of trust in this big names promise.
Thank you so much, but I have a few simple requirements.
Professor Li took out a notebook he was carrying.
Lu Zhou nodded and recalled the details he discussed in previous meetings.
Due to the several different types of plasma discharge in the stellarator, the heating antenna has to be able to move in a radial direction. The moving range has to be between minus 150 mm and 150 mm. The accuracy has to be on the millimeter scale, is this possible?
Professor Li said without hesitation, This isnt a problem.
Lu Zhou nodded and continued, The impedance requirements of components such as the vacuum feed port and transmission line of the antenna have to meet the design requirements of 50 ohms. The voltage requirement for the inner and outer conductors has to be 45 kV.
The current band and Faraday shields all require their separate cooling circuits, and their cooling capacities are required to withstand the scale of MW/m2 thermal loads.
Also, regarding the maintenance and assembly of the antenna, we need to minimize the welding position so that the total leakage rate of the antenna has to be less than 10^-10Pam^3/s.
This was fine at the beginning, and Academician Li was pretty relaxed. However, when Lu Zhou continued to fire out these requirements like a machine gun, Academician Li didnt look as relaxed anymore. Instead, he looked stressed.
Lu Zhou listed another dozen requirements or so. He even began to feel a little thirsty, so Wang Peng gave him a bottle of water. He took a sip of the water and continued, Thats the basic situation. I might have spoken too fast. Once the meeting outline is written, Ill send the details to your email.
Li Jiangang finally stopped writing.
He looked at his notebook for a while and began to subconsciously frown. However, he forced a smile.
You really know how to make us work hard. Even the ITER project conferences arent as complicated as this.
Lu Zhou smiled and said, After all, this is the first reactor of its kind. We have to do a good job from the start, and I want to make it as perfect as possible.
Even though the system didnt specify any requirements for the DEMO demonstration reactor, there was no doubt that the mission rewards were tied to the outcome of the demonstration reactor. The better the reactor was built, the more mission rewards he would receive.
Looking at it from a realistic point of view, the better the demonstration reactor capabilities were, the fewer problems they would encounter during the technology commercialization phase. As a researcher, he wanted his research to be recognized by the world.
Academician Li closed his notebook and said, Okay, Ill go back to the institute tomorrow and give you an answer in two days.
Lu Zhou nodded and said, Okay, thank you.
The STAR-2 demonstration reactor project had been going on the right track. Both the construction site and research institute was blossoming with action.
The demonstration reactor was like a torch, illuminating the entire future of the nuclear fusion field.
Even though no one did any kind of motivational speech, everyone working here had a strong sense of purpose.
They were doing something meaningful.
Their research was at the forefront of the world.
Up until now, they had achieved countless in-progress results, won countless fights, proved themselves countless times.
Everyone was certain that as long as Chief Designer Lu was here, they would continue in this manner until they were past the finish line.
It was difficult to have negative emotions working in an environment like this.
Even the chefs in the cafeteria were working enthusiastically.
If everything went well, all of the components could be completed by the end of the year.
As for whether it was by the end of New Years Day or Chinese New Year, that would depend on their luck.
There were only two things Lu Zhou had to solve.
One was to go back to the STAR Stellarator Research Institute near the Purple Mountain and complete the final design of the liquid lithium neutron recovery system as soon as possible.
Other people were working so hard, he couldnt drag them behind.
The neutron recovery system was the core component of the entire fusion reactor. The design of this component directly determined the success of the STAR-2 demonstration reactor project. If this part was successfully completed, then they would have a plasma control technology. Which could help solve the second biggest fusion reactor problemthe heavy water issue.
This was the last difficult part.
As for the electricity generator, the heater, the safety-nets under the reactor These components were only minor components that perfected the reactor.
As for the other thing, he had to solve the supercomputer problem.
As of now, the plasma control scheme of the STAR experimental reactor was done with the help from Xiao Ai.
It was not like he could move Xiao Ai onto the main demonstration reactor computer, right?
After all, it wasnt appropriate for Xiao Ai to be shown to the world.
The best way would be to separate the plasma control scheme from the main program.
If Lu Zhou solved these two problems, then hed have assembled all of the puzzles.
The completion of a demonstration reactor was just around the corner.
Lu Zhou couldnt help but get excited.
Countless nights of hard work.
This day was finally going to come.