Skip to main content

Implementation of activities described in the Roadmap to Fusion during Horizon 2020 through a Joint programme of the members of the EUROfusion consortium

Periodic Reporting for period 6 - 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: 2019-01-01 to 2019-12-31

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. In 2018, the fusion roadmap has been updated taking into account a number of events and developments such as the revised ITER schedule towards first plasma and DT operation; the development of the Early Neutron Source to test materials for DEMO and power plants; and next steps to be taken to address the challenges in the field of plasma exhaust physics. 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.
Analysis of the past experimental campaign of the EU stellarator W7-X (Germany) showed a reduction in neoclassical energy transport, confirming the central aspects of stellarator optimisation. The focus of the JET programme remains on the preparation of high performance and stationary plasma scenarios for the next Deuterium-Tritium experiments with the ITER-like Wall. Integrated scenarios preparation for high fusion power sustained for 5 seconds progressed significantly with high Neutral Beam Injection power of over 28 MW available by the end of 2019. A peak neutron rate of 4x1016n/s (2.7x1016n/s averaged over 5s) was obtained with tolerable divertor temperatures and controlled impurity level. In the frame of an international collaboration agreement with the ITER-International Organisation and the United States Department of Energy, a Shattered Pellet Injection system was successfully installed. By varying the Pellets Neon content, the disruption current quench time was controlled efficiently. It was discovered that Deuterium pellets injected to a high current run-away electron beam leads to benign impacts on the wall, suggesting a new solution for run-away control in ITER.
Regarding the 2019 Medium-Sized Tokamaks programme, all experiments, data-analysis activities, and modelling efforts took place within pre-defined and cross machine High-Level Topics. On both ASDEX-Upgrade (Germany) and TCV Tokamaks (Switzerland), disruption prevention systems have been implemented and tested on the H-mode density limit disruption path. A real-time control for the location of the X-point radiator was also implemented and tested on ASDEX-Upgrade. The first version of the TCV divertor baffles were implemented as part of the Plasma Exhaust Programme and performed as expected, which strengthens the confidence in the SOLPS-ITER divertor model that was used for its design.

Activities for the preparation of the EU participation in the JT-60SA Tokamak (Japan) Integrated Commissioning were initiated and the EUROfusion coordination team has been appointed. The fast video diagnostic (EDICAM) was constructed and delivered to the Naka site in Japan.

Plasma-wall interaction studies and qualification of plasma-facing materials and components focussed on ITER and DEMO-relevant Beryllium and Tungsten-based materials as well as steels such as EUROFER. In 2019 the Helium-Tungsten interaction was studied extensively in the full Tungsten tokamak WEST (France), the divertor manipulator of ASDEX Upgrade (Germany), and, in the MAGNUM linear plasma device (Netherlands) by performing dedicated high fluence experiments on ITER monoblocks.
Work conducted in the Power Plant Physics and Technology Department in 2019 focused on the assessment of technical solutions for the DEMO key design integration issues and technology R&D maturation, in preparation for the Gate Review scheduled at the end of 2020. The collaboration with F4E on the two EU ITER Test Blanket Modules concepts made good progress. The concept of a Balance of Plant based on direct coupling was further investigated with strong support from the relevant industry. A feasibility study showing low thermal and mechanical stresses was completed. The design of the protection limiters and divertor was advanced and very good results were obtained for some of the divertor mock-ups tested under high-heat-flux conditions up to 20 MW/m2. In the area of heating and current drive, tests of the 170 GHz coaxial gyrotrons achieved 2 MW using a diode gun in a short pulse gyrotron. Extended simulations to analyse the problem of plasma controllability of Neoclassic Tearing Modes on DEMO as a function of mode size, control delays and available Electron Cyclotron Heating power were completed. Testing of a Nb3Sn superconductor prototype based on the react-and-wind technique, has shown very good performance. A new React and Wind joint sample prototype, based on innovative diffusion bonding, was manufactured and tested in the Summer 2019 with very satisfactory results. The Material Property Handbook was updated (fourth release) with the inclusion of a chapter on the EUROFER97 and a chapter on functional, i.e. optical and dielectric, materials. The results obtained on Advanced Steels (~30 alloys) show significant improvement of high temperature creep properties while limited improvement has been observed of impact properties for low temperature applications. Post Irradiation Experiments results indicate reduced irradiation embrittlement for a few advanced steel grades. Work in Remote Maintenance targeted the study on vertical blanket handling and the feasibility of poloidal blanket segmentation options. The load test of the Telescopic Articulated Remote Mast deployment system was successful, completing the safety case. Technology development for the alignment of pipes has demonstrated a geometry capable of achieving alignment but with high loads both axially and radially with even small misalignment. In the area of safety, a review of the Generic Site Safety Report has been carried out to comply with the recommendations received from the Design Review Panel. In the area of tritium vacuum and fuelling, the performance of niobium super-permeable membranes could be increased by almost an order of magnitude in terms of the permeation fluxes, which translates in a reduced number of metal foil pump units that integrate well in the foreseen pumping ports. Experimental and theoretical investigations on the influence of external magnetic fields on the metal foil plasma source are promising. As part of the work on IFMIF-DONES, an updated and complete Preliminary Engineering Design Report was issued in 2019.
In 2019, the total number of PhD students supported were approximately 700, with around 20% female students, which is slightly higher than in recent years. In addition, around 200 undergraduate students have been supported. FuseNet continued to organise support, at the Master-level, enabling students to take part in educational activities.
Technology transfer activities carried out the implementation of 2 Technology Transfer Demonstrators; identified more than 44 technology descriptions; 23 technology needs and 12 inputs for success stories.
The design phase of the Fusion Expo is nearing completion, with content development for the physical parts of the exhibition, final layout and user experience software now ready to begin development.