High Temperature Fusion Reactor Cooling Using Brayton Cycle Based Partial Energy Conversion

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

AIP Conference Proceedings


For some future space power systems using high temperature nuclear heat sources most of the output energy will be used in other than electrical form, and only a fraction of the total thermal energy generated will need to be converted to electrical work. The paper describes the conceptual design of such a “partial energy conversion” system, consisting of a high temperature fusion reactor operating in series with a high temperature radiator and in parallel with dual closed cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power systems, also referred to as closed Brayton cycle (CBC) systems, which are supplied with a fraction of the reactor thermal energy for conversion to electric power. Most of the fusion reactor’s output is in the form of charged plasma which is expanded through a magnetic nozzle of the interplanetary propulsion system. Reactor heat energy is ducted to the high temperature series radiator utilizing the electric power generated to drive a helium gas circulation fan. In addition to discussing the thermodynamic aspects of the system design the authors include a brief overview of the gas turbine and fan rotor‐dynamics and proposed bearing support technology along with performance characteristics of the three phase AC electric power generator and fan drive motor. © 2004 American Institute of Physics