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Nuclear Fusion Technology (Nuclear Fusion Technology)

Module MW2427

This Module is offered by Chair of Nuclear Technology (Prof. Macian-Juan).

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Basic Information

MW2427 is a semester module in English language at Bachelor’s level and Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Catalogue of non-physics elective courses
Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 45 h 5 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Lesson 1: Main Nuclear Fusion Reactions and Approach to Fusion as Energy Source
• Why Nuclear Fusion
• Main Definitions in Nuclear Physics
• The mass defect and binding energy
• Important Nuclear fusion reactions
• Why Nuclear Fusion is difficult

Lesson 2: Ways to obtain Nuclear Fusion Part 1:
• Gravity -> the STARS
• The tunnel effect and the High Energy Tail of the Maxwellian Distribution

Lesson 2: Ways to obtain Nuclear Fusion Part 2:
• Accelerators
• The cross section σ and the reaction rate
• Thermonuclear Power Production

Lesson 3: Outline of Nuclear Fusion Devices 1
• Accelerators and Muon Catalised Fusion (mention)
• The Thermonuclear Fusion Reactor
• Magnetic Confinement

Lesson 4: Outline of Nuclear Fusion Devices 2
• Magnetic Confinement Devices:
- The Tokamak Concept
- The Stellarator Concept
- Magnetic Mirror Concept
• Inertial Confinement
• The EU roadmap to Commercial use of Fusion in 2050

Lesson 5:The Plasma
• What is the Plasma
• Plasma Appearances
• Plasma Discharges
• Plasma Characteristics:
- Debye Shielding, Electrical Resistivity
- Runaway Electrons, Diamagnetism
- The β parameter, The rotational transform & safety Factor
- Plasma Losses

Lesson 6: Plasma Main Operation – Tokamaks part 1
• JET Tokamak
• ITER Tokamak
• Tokamak Plasma Operation

Lesson 7: Plasma Main Operation – Tokamaks part 2
• One operation cycle
• Tokamak Plasma Confinement
• Plasma Instabilities
• Plasma Disruption

Lesson 8: Superconducting Magnets
• Superconductivity (Outline)
• Superconductor production
• Superconducting magnets Technology for Fusion Devices
• W7-X Magnets
• ITER Magnets
• Next Step

Lesson 9: In Vessel Components – Tokamak
• Plasma Facing Components - Armour and Heat Sink
• Materials and Joining Technologies
• Shielding Blanket System
• Divertor System
• Special Manufacturing technologies incl.
• Advanced Cooling Systems

Lesson 10: Vacuum Vessel & Cryostat – Tokamaks
• The Vacuum Vessel
• Vacuum Vessel Manufacturing Technologies
• Cryostat
• Ultra-High Vacuum

Lesson 11: Fuel Cycle and Breeding Blankets – Outline MHD
• Fuel cycle and breeding blankets (theory)
• Fuel cycle and breeding blankets (technology)
• Magnetohydrodynamics (outline)

Lesson 12: Plasma Heating part 1
• Ohmic Heating
• Neutral Beam Injectors

Lesson 13: Plasma Heating part 2
• RF and Microwave Heating

Lesson 14: Cryogenic Technology
• Cryogenics and cryogenic Processes
• Cooling Cycles and Liquefaction of Gases
• Materials for cryogenic applications
• Storage and transfer.

Learning Outcome

The aim of the course is to introduce the students to nuclear fusion technology and its research fields. At the end of the course the students are able to understand how the fusion components are designed and manufactured. They are able to remember advanced engineering technologies, which can have application to several other engineering fields and can be useful in the case they will be working in top / innovative engineering fields. The students are also able to apprehend the potentials and the engineering problems of this technology as solution to the future energy demand.


The lecture is offered among others for:
Students in the 5th semester of mechanical engineering, physics, technical physics, technical mathematics and computer science, chemistry, chemistry Engineering.
Prerequisite is the Knowledge of the fundamentals of Physics (Mechanics, Thermodynamics Electromagnetics)

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 3 Nuclear Fusion Technology Cardella, A. Mon, 16:00–17:30, MW 1250
Tue, 17:00–18:30, MW 2050

Learning and Teaching Methods

The module consists of lectures and some exercises. In the lectures, the fundamentals of Nuclear Fusion Technology are presented and discussed via a teaching presentation and Power Point slides. The lecture notes are available in moodle, so that the students can make their own notes. Thus they learn to apprehend the potentials and the engineering problems of this technology as solution to the future energy demand.
During the exercises some practical computational examples are shown. Hence students learn for example to understand how the fusion components are designed and manufactured.


Beamer Presentation Moodle


John Wesson,
Oxford Science Publications

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

The course will introduce the fundamentals of nuclear fusion technology and nuclear fusion reactor engineering. After introducing the main nuclear fusion reactions and the physical backgrounds, it will describe the operating principles of existing fusion devices and those under construction with focus on the Tokamak machines. It will also introduce the concepts of future thermonuclear reactors.

An important part of the course is the description of advanced technologies that in several cases are also used in other high-tech engineering fields such as:
- Superconducting Magnets
- Cryotechnology
- Plasma Technologies
- High heat flux component technologies
- High power Radiofrequency and Microwave heating
- Neutral Beam Injectors
- Breeding balnkets

The exam is only in written form (written exam) and lasts 90 minutes. Auxiliary tool that is allowed is only a pocket computer. By answering comprehension questions and a couple of computational tasks, students demonstrate that they have learned the working principles of nuclear fusion devices and the related advanced technologies and are able to apprehend the potentials and the engineering problems of this technology as solution to the future energy demand.
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