Steady state versus pulsed tokamak reactors

D. J. Segal, A. J. Cerfon, J. P. Freidberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have carried out a detailed analysis that compares steady state versus pulsed tokamak reactors. The motivations are as follows. Steady state current drive has turned out to be more difficult than expected - it takes too many watts to drive an ampere, which has a negative effect on power balance and economics. This is partially compensated by the recent development of high temperature REBCO superconductors, which offers the promise of more compact, lower cost tokamak reactors, both steady state and pulsed. Of renewed interest is the reduction in size of pulsed reactors because of the possibility of higher field Ohmic transformers for a given required pulse length. Our main conclusion is that pulsed reactors may indeed be competitive with steady state reactors and this issue should be re-examined with more detailed engineering level studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045001
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • fusion energy
  • steady state versus pulsed
  • tokamak reactor comparative designs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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