A minimum criterion for a fusion reactor is that the thermonuclear power PTh generated in the plasma should replace the power losses PL.

One way of achieving this is to recycle a fraction η of the total power leaving the plasma. This will then be used to reheat the plasma and balance the power losses-

η(PTh+PL)=PL
The Lawson criterion states this in terms of the product of the plasma density n and the energy confinement time τE. This criterion is a function of temperature. At 10 KeV (optimal for the fusion of deuterium and tritium) it is given by-
E>1019m-3 s

See also the stricter criterion required for plasma ignition.

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