Concepts for a Deuterium–Deuterium Fusion Reactor
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We revisit the assumption that reactors based on deuterium–deuterium (D–D) fusion process have to be necessarily developed after the successful completion of experiments and demonstrations for deuterium–tritium (D–T) fusion reactors. Two possible mechanisms for enhancing the reactivity are discussed. Hard tails in the energy distribution of the nuclei, through the so-called κ-distribution, allow to boost the number of energetic nuclei available for fusion reactions. At higher temperatures than usually considered in D–T plasmas, vacuum polarization effects from real e+e– and μ+μ– pairs may provide further speed-up due to their contribution to screening of the Coulomb barrier. Furthermore, the energy collection system can benefit from the absence of the lithium blanket, both in simplicity and compactness. The usual thermal cycle can be bypassed with comparable efficiency levels using hadron calorimetry and third-generation photovoltaic cells, possibly allowing to extend the use of fusion reactors to broader contexts, most notably maritime transport.