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The T-15 (or Tokamak-15) is a Russian (previously Soviet) nuclear fusion research reactor located at the Kurchatov Institute, which is based on the (Soviet-invented) tokamak design.[2] It was the first industrial prototype fusion reactor to use superconducting magnets to control the plasma.[3] These enormous superconducting magnets confined the plasma the reactor produced, but failed to sustain it for more than just a few seconds. Despite not being immediately applicable, this new technological advancement proved to the USSR that they were on the right path. In the original (circular cross-section with limiter) shape, a toroidal chamber design, it had a major radius of 2.43m and minor radius 0.7m.[4]

The T-15 achieved creating its first thermonuclear plasma in 1988 and the reactor remained operational until 1995. The plasma created was thought to solve a number of issues engineers have struggled with in the past. This combined with the USSR's desire for cheaper energy ensured the continuing progress of the T-15 under Mikhail S. Gorbachev. It was designed to replace the country's use of gas and coal as the primary sources of energy.

It achieved 1MA and 1.5MW injection for 1 second pulse.[5] It carried out about 100 shots before closing (in 1995) due to a lack of funds.[6]

1996 upgrade

From 1996 to 1998 a series of upgrades were made to the reactor, in order to conduct preliminary research for the design work on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor or ITER. One of the upgrades converted the tokamak to a D-shape divertor design with a major plasma radius of 1.5m. ITER will also use superconducting magnets. The nuclear predecessors before such as the T-10 were capable of reaching 16,700,000 °C (30,000,000 °F). This increased temperature made it possible to introduce the electron cyclotron resonance (ECR), ion cyclotron resonance (ICR), and neutral atoms, as to maintain the reactions.
2010 upgrade to T-15MD

In the year 2010 it was decided to upgrade the reactor.[7] On the basis of the T-15 there will be created a nuclear fusion-fission hybrid reactor, intended to use the neutrons generated by a core fusion reactor component to incite fission in otherwise nonfissile fuels, and to explore the feasibility of such a system for power generation.[8][9][10] The upgraded machine is called T-15MD and is currently expected to be ready in 2019.[11] As of early 2020 the status of construction was reported as "entering the final phase".[12]

"Russian Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute"". web.archive.org. 2005-02-25. Archived from the original on 2005-02-25. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
Smirnov, V.P. (2010). "Tokamak foundation in USSR/Russia 1950–1990" (PDF). Nuclear Fusion. 50 (1): 014003. CiteSeerX doi:10.1088/0029-5515/50/1/014003. ISSN 0029-5515.
[1] Belyakov et al., The T-15 tokamak. Basic characteristics and research program, Soviet Atomic Energy, February 1982, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 103-111
Superconducting Tokamak T-15 Upgrade. Kirnev et al.
[2] The Second Life of Tokamak T-15, Iter newsline, 5 November 2010
TOKAMAK T-15MD: experience of scientific and technical project realization in RUSSIA (2017)
Upgraded Russian tokamak T-15 launch in 2018
Russia develops hybrid fusion-fission reactor
Пуск модернизированной российской термоядерной установки ожидается в 2018 году
Litvak, A.G.; Romannikov, Alexander (2017). "Medium size tokamak T-15MD as a base for experimental fusion research in Russian Federation". EPJ Web of Conferences. 149: 01007. doi:10.1051/epjconf/201714901007. ISSN 2100-014X.

Khvostenko, P. P. (2020). "Preparation to physical start up of tokamak T-15MD has reached the final stage" (PDF).

Further reading

Josephson, P. R. (2000). Red atom: Russia's nuclear power program from Stalin to today. New York: W.H. Freeman.
Effects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident on Utility Share Prices. Rajiv Kalra, Glenn V. Henderson, Jr. and Gary A. Raines. Quarterly Journal of Business and Economics, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Spring, 1993), pp. 52–77.

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