Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe - Wissenschaftliche Berichte - FZKA 6820

Nuclear Fusion Programme Annual Report of theAssociation Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe/EURATOM October 2001 - September 2002

W. Bahm (Ed.)

Nuclear fusion represents a most promising option for a resource independent, sustainable, inherently safe and clean source for future global energy supply. Fusion research therefore has to fully explore this option as to provide a complete basis of proven information whether energy production by fusion is technically feasible, ecologically tolerable and finally, economically meaningful. 

The FZK fusion research programme is fully integrated in the European Fusion Programme which follows a road map towards commercial fusion energy (Fig. 1). Three major elements of research and development are required in order to generate the know-how for the construction of a fusion power station DEMO/PROTO:

.                       A base physics programme targeted to improve capabilities to simulate plasma confinement concepts while making use of existing experimental facilities.

.                       A major facilities programme including ITER as the most important next step, IFMIF for the qualification of materials for DEMO and a component test facility.

.                       A base technology programme comprising plasma support technologies such as superconducting magnets, fuelling systems, high heat flux components, remote maintenance, reactor relevant steady state plasma heating systems etc., and fusion power technologies such as breeding blankets, helium cooled divertor and tritium extraction systems.

The activities of all the European fusion laboratories (known as EURATOM Associations) and industry are combined into one organisational structure via the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA). EFDA has a leader and two associate leaders (one for JET and one for fusion technology). It is guided by a steering committee, consisting of the heads of association laboratories, which has to approve the major strategy and annual work programmes as well as large contracts with industry or associations. 

Within this framework FZK is developing key technologies in the areas of superconducting magnets, microwave heating systems (Electron-Cyclotron-Resonance-Heating, ECRH), the deuteriumtritium fuel cycle, He-cooled breeding blankets, a He-cooled divertor and structural materials as well as refractory metals for high heat flux applications including a major participation in the international IFMIF project. Furthermore investigations on plasma wall interactions and core and divertor modelling are carried out.

The results from experimental activities such as the tests of superconducting model coils in the test facility TOSKA, the quasi-stationary gyrotron operation and the operation of fuel cycle subsystems and components with deuterium-tritium have already been utilised for the design work for ITER. In addition large progress has been made in the development of breeding blankets and in the structural materials development as well as initial progress in the development of a He-cooled divertor for DEMO. All of this work has already been utilised in the European reactor studies. 

Once the decision to build ITER is made, substantially stronger efforts need to be dedicated towards engineering design demands, which will also become increasingly true for the DEMO-related work. In order to efficiently manage these tasks a project-oriented approach is required involving a quality assured and quality controlled exploitation of R&D results. The detailed design and construction of ITER components and subsystems needs to be supported by experiments such as prototype testing, validation of scale up factors and additional R&D. This process shall result in the development of complete licensable components and systems. In a later phase support has to be provided to industrial partners who shall produce, assemble and finally install the components or systems into ITER, taking quality control and licensing aspects into account. However, the responsibility for the performance and the overall management of the procurement, installation and commissioning shall remain with the designers.