Developing structural, high-heat flux and plasma facing materials for a near-term DEMO fusion power plant: The EU assessment

Stork, Derek and Agostini, Pietro and Boutard, Jean-Louis and Buckthorpe, Derek and Diegele, Eberhard and Dudarev, SL and Federici, Gianfranco and Gilbert, Mark R and Gonzalez, Sehila and Ibarra, Angel and Linsmeier, Christian and Puma, Antonella Li and Morrison, Kathleen D and Packer, LW and Raj, Baldev and Rieth, Michael and Tran, MQ and Ward, DJ and English, C and Marbach, G and Zinkle, SJ (2014) Developing structural, high-heat flux and plasma facing materials for a near-term DEMO fusion power plant: The EU assessment. Journal of Nuclear Materials, 455 (1-3). pp. 277-291.

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Abstract: The findings of the EU ‘Materials Assessment Group’ (MAG), within the 2012 EU Fusion Roadmap exercise, are discussed. MAG analysed the technological readiness of structural, plasma facing and high heat flux materials for a DEMO concept to be constructed in the early 2030s, proposing a coherent strategy for R and D up to a DEMO construction decision. A DEMO phase I with a ‘Starter Blanket’ and ‘Starter Divertor’ is foreseen: the blanket being capable of withstanding 2 MW yr m−2 fusion neutron fluence (20 dpa in the front-wall steel). A second phase ensues for DEMO with 5 MW yr m−2 first wall neutron fluence. Technical consequences for the materials required and the development, testing and modelling programmes, are analysed using: a systems engineering approach, considering reactor operational cycles, efficient maintenance and inspection requirements, and interaction with functional materials/coolants; and a project-based risk analysis, with R and D to mitigate risks from material shortcomings including development of specific risk mitigation materials. The DEMO balance of plant constrains the blanket and divertor coolants to remain unchanged between the two phases. The blanket coolant choices (He gas or pressurised water) put technical constraints on the blanket steels, either to have high strength at higher temperatures than current baseline variants (above 650 °C for high thermodynamic efficiency from He-gas coolant), or superior radiation-embrittlement properties at lower temperatures (290–320 °C), for construction of water-cooled blankets. Risk mitigation proposed would develop these options in parallel, and computational and modelling techniques to shorten the cycle-time of new steel development will be important to achieve tight R and D timescales. The superior power handling of a water-cooled divertor target suggests a substructure temperature operating window (200–350 °C) that could be realised, as a baseline-concept, using tungsten on a copper-alloy substructure. The difficulty of establishing design codes for brittle tungsten puts great urgency on the development of a range of advanced ductile or strengthened tungsten and copper compounds. Lessons learned from Fission reactor material development have been included, especially in safety and licensing, fabrication/joining techniques and designing for in-vessel inspection. The technical basis of using the ITER licensing experience to refine the issues in nuclear testing of materials is discussed. Testing with 14 MeV neutrons is essential to Fusion Materials development, and the Roadmap requires acquisition of 30 dpa (steels) 14 MeV test data by 2026. The value and limits of pre-screening testing with fission neutrons on isotopically- or chemically-doped steels and with ion-beams are evaluated to help determine the minimum14 MeV testing programme requirements.
Item Type: Journal Paper
Additional Information: Copyright belongs to Publisher
Subjects: General > Directors > Baldev Raj > Publications
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2016 09:01
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2016 09:13
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    Funders: UNSPECIFIED
    Projects: UNSPECIFIED
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.06.014

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