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PX438 - Physics for Fusion Power

  • Module code: PX438
  • Module name: Physics for Fusion Power
  • Department: Physics
  • Credit: 7.5

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

To discuss aspects of nuclear fusion and advanced plasma physics relevant to the construction of fusion power stations

Principal learning outcomes

At the end of this module students should: Have an appreciation of how plasma physics defines the design parameters of fusion power plants; Understand the physics of fusion power plasma heating, confinement and stability; Be prepared for postgraduate research in either fusion or plasma physics

Timetabled teaching activities

15 Lectures

Departmental link

Other essential notes

This module discusses the physics of thermonuclear fusion, which is a candidate solution for the energy demands of our society. Nuclear fusion is promising due to the unlimited amount of fuel, the fact that it is CO2 neutral, the limited amount of long-lived radioactive waste, and the inherent safety of the approach. As a 'minor' drawback, one could mention that a working concept for this approach still needs to be demonstrated. For reasons we will discuss, the construction of a working fusion reactor is hindered by several, in themselves rather interesting, physics phenomena. The module discusses the two main approaches: inertial confinement and magnetic confinement, with the emphasis on the latter since it is further developed. The module will deal with both the physics phenomena as well as with the boundary conditions that must be satisfied for a working reactor. At the end of the module you should have an understanding of the main physics effects, the current concepts used and the reasons behind the choices made in the current experimental designs.

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
7.5 CATS (Module code: PX438-7.5)
B (Examination only) 1.5 hr exam (Summer) Physics of Fusion Power 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc MMathPhys) (FG33) - Year 4