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  • Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EUROfusion (Implementation of activities described in the Roadmap to Fusion during Horizon 2020 through a Joint programme of the members of the EUROfusion consortium)

EUROfusion Report Summary

Project ID: 633053
Funded under: H2020-Euratom

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EUROfusion (Implementation of activities described in the Roadmap to Fusion during Horizon 2020 through a Joint programme of the members of the EUROfusion consortium)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2015-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

An ambitious yet realistic roadmap to fusion electricity by 2050 was adopted by EFDA at the end of 2012 in line with the European Commission proposal for the EURATOM programme in Horizon 2020. This roadmap aims at achieving all the necessary know-how to start the construction of a Demonstration Fusion Power Plant (DEMO) by 2030, in order to reach the goal of fusion electricity in the grid by 2050. This programme has the goal of implementing the activities described in the Roadmap during Horizon 2020 through a joint programme of the members of the EUROfusion Consortium. The success of ITER remains the most important overarching objective of the programme and the vast majority of resources in Horizon 2020 are devoted to: ensuring that ITER is built within scope, time and budget and its operation is properly prepared by addressing the R&D priorities pointed out by the ITER Organization in the ITER Research Plan; ensuring that a new generation of scientists and engineers is properly educated and trained for its exploitation; and addressing the key issues towards the development of DEMO.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In line with the European Fusion Roadmap, work focused on preparing for ITER operation and the development of a DEMO was launched under the co-ordination of the ITER Physics (IPH) and the Power Plant Physics & Technology (PPPT) Departments of the EUROfusion Programme Management Unit. The IPH Department co-ordinated work addressing mainly plasma operation, plasma exhaust and stellarators, while the PPPT Department activities focused on executing Design Integration and Physics Integration functions to ensure that a consistent and integrated DEMO conceptual design is developed.
The EUROfusion mission to bring the stellarator design to maturity took a major step forward with the start of the first experimental campaign on the flagship EU stellarator W7-X (Germany). This achievement advances the favoured stellarator magnetic configuration (HELIAS) by a generation and was supported by development work on diagnostics and heating systems, in particular, Electron Cyclotron Resonant Heating, as well as scenario modelling. The campaign continues into 2016, where a key aim will be to interpret and understand the core and edge plasma and the role in the confinement of energy and particles. Theory and modelling studies form an important basis for this analysis work as well as studies towards an eventual stellarator fusion power plant, including advances in the development of 3D neutronic models and their application to stellarator breeding blankets, as well as developments towards the search for optimised HELIAS configurations beyond the targets considered for W7-X.
On the tokamak line, EUROfusion coordinated experimental programmes included the joint exploitation of the JET tokamak and the European Medium Size Tokamaks as well as plasma facing components test devices. As far as the JET programme is concerned much effort was devoted to prepare the assessment of the readiness for the foreseen Deuterium-Tritium experiments by a specific ad-hoc group chaired by Princeton scientist Rich Hawryluk. In this context, an alternative JET schedule which terminates JET operation in 2020 (with a Tritium campaign in 2018 and a Deuterium-Tritium campaign in 2019) was proposed which significantly improves the scientific and technical readiness for a Deuterium-Tritium experiment on JET while reducing technical risks and optimising the scientific preparation. In 2015 three tokamaks (JET, ASDEX Upgrade and TCV) were operated under EUROfusion, in an approach to make an optimum use of the various devices. The other EUROfusion Medium Size Tokamak MAST Upgrade is undergoing significant upgrades and will be incorporated in the joint EUROfusion Medium Size Tokamak experimental programme in 2017. The 2015 JET experimental campaign has produced valuable scientific results for ITER such as systematic disruption studies, development of adaptive disruption predictor. Experiments with helium plasmas focusing on key elements for the preparation of the ITER non-active phase were conducted in the ASDEX-Upgrade tokamak. High pedestal pressure H-modes were successfully developed and allowed testing of the transferability of Edge Localised Modes (ELM) mitigation using Resonant Magnetic Perturbation techniques to helium and measurement of the inter ELM evolution and ELM energy losses. Still in Helium plasmas, the growth and destruction of tungsten fuzz at the low-field side strike point region was also investigated. Around 200 shots were performed on the TCV tokamak for the first time under the EUROfusion Medium Size Tokamak experimental programme. First results were obtained in the area of detachment optimization in the snowflake configuration, runaway electrons, Neoclassic Tearing Mode control, ELM mitigation using edge Electron Cyclotron Resonant Heating, filamentary transport in the plasma Scrape off Layer, and power loading on first wall due to ELMs.
This broad experimental activity was supported by modelling effort focused on extrapolation of the experimental results to ITER and DEMO. In this context, the Implementing Agreement for a new High Performance Computer (to replace HELIOS by 1st January 2017) was signed between EUROfusion and ENEA. The new EUROfusion Core Programming Team has been selected to provide the user support in 2016-2018 and its responsibilities have been substantially increased to a full-scale support to code developers and modellers.
In experiments at the plasma facing component test facilities, PSI-2 (Germany) and Pilot-PSI (The Netherlands), and at the particle beam facilities, further progress was achieved on the characterisation of plasma materials effects foreseen for ITER and DEMO. Key results on the power-load handling, fuel retention mechanisms and material migration were achieved. Additionally, the upcoming WEST plasma facing component experiments were prepared by the development of plasma edge diagnostics for the WEST tokamak.
Prototype pre-conceptual designs for the proposed alternative divertor configurations for DEMO were developed and modelled. Results indicate no show stoppers for any of the proposed configurations.
Preparation continued for the European exploitation of the JT-60SA tokamak under construction in Naka, Japan. This included assessment of diagnostics, heating systems, divertor performance, pumping systems, fast ion confinement, plasma control, and MHD stability. Studies of divertor performance include core-edge modelling and concentrate on assessing the eventual conversion of JT-60SA to a metallic device in support of the EUROfusion strategy for DEMO.
Fundamental to the DEMO design development strategy in 2015 has been the establishment of a baseline architecture that integrates all the major DEMO sub-systems into a coherent plant concept. The baseline plant architecture design is continually evolving, being updated as new information comes to light, but it represents the current ‘best’ option and acts as a central reference point to all contributors. In particular, work is now getting focused to find robust integrated solutions to the problem of the power exhaust, power conversion and tritium breeding that play a strong role in the selection of the technical features of the device and the operating conditions of the coolants and materials.
The philosophy of integrated design at an early stage has proved successful, in that it has encouraged a more ‘systems orientated’ way of thinking, and in the process brought major clarity to a number of critical design issues, and the overall integration challenge, including: (i) improved understanding of system context; (ii) identification of critical interface issues; (iii) establishment of an integration culture; (iv) plant optimisation studies; (v) assessing impact of technical risks and innovation.
For the breeding blanket project (WPBB) design options have been progressed utilising He, water, and LiPb as coolants and a solid or LiPb breeder/multiplier. The main design drivers include T self-sufficiency (including all penetrations), thermo-hydraulic efficiency and structural feasibility to withstand the most severe loading conditions due to accidental conditions and disruptions.
In the area of Balance of Plant (WPBOP) system design studies were continued for He and water cooling to define the system requirements for the in-vessel components, interfacing with the balance of plant.
Design work has started in the area of diagnostics and control (WPDC) to develop a control system concept with high availability over extended periods of operation, relying on an enhanced long-term stability of individual diagnostic systems and actuators.
In the divertor project (WPDIV), engineering work focusses on: (i) the design of the divertor cassette body, considering a number of variant layouts; and (ii) the development of a number of candidate divertor target concepts including fabrication trials and high-heat flux tests.
As for Heating and Current Drive (WPHCD), feasible technology options for neutral beams (NBI), electron cyclotron heating (ECH) and ion cyclotron heating (ICH) systems for DEMO were explored. System efficiencies and potential launch positions for these technologies have been investigated, together with the impact arising from integrating these systems in the plant.
The magnets project (WPMAG) has considered in 2015 basic coil and winding pack layouts, fabrication methods, and possibilities for using high temperature superconductors. Samples of optimised design of low temperature and high temperature superconductors with improved performance were manufactured and tested.
Regarding the development of fusion materials (WPMAT), work has continued to consolidate a materials database and material processing trials have been performed to improve the performance of key structural material candidates for in-vessel components. A major part of the advanced steels program is dedicated to the extension or shift of the operating temperature window of EUROFER-type steels.
In remote maintenance (WPRM), technical work has progressed in the definition and development of the remote maintenance (RM) system, including a comprehensive requirements capture exercise, in-vessel and ex-vessel maintenance equipment concept and strategy development, and the development of service joining techniques.
In the area of safety (WPSAE), a first draft of a Project Safety Requirements Document has been produced that will evolve as the design process continues and in response to the outcome of safety analyses. Safety analysis are planned to help identify the fundamental design choices that may have an impact on the safety and environment performance.
One important milestone achieved in 2015 in the project Tritium Fuelling and Vacuum (TFV) was the establishment of a novel architecture of the inner fuel cycle to avoid an excessively large tritium inventory in the system that would result from a simple scale-up of the ITER technologies for pumping and isotope separation.
Work has started on the design of the Early Neutron Source Project (ENS) , also called DONES. This was done with strong coordination with F4E and building on the knowledge acquired with the IFMIF/EVEDA project, carried out in the framework of the Broader Approach Agreement between EU and JA.
Training and education activities were reinforced supporting under-graduate, PhD level and post-doctoral programmes, aiming at a new generation of scientists and engineers. An assessment of the PhD-programmes was carried out, together with a review of the human resources in the European fusion landscape. These aim at strengthening the available engineering resources, with a marked change from non-nuclear to nuclear technologies.
The potential role for fusion in the future energy market studies have been reinforced in 2015 focusing on identifying the most important aspects of a fusion power plant which will make fusion more attractive as an energy option. A coordinator with the role of integrating the work in the area of safety and environment, DEMO design integration and fusion communication has been appointed.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

"See above under "Work performed during the reporting period and main results achieved so far"."

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