Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 64 / Number 3 / September 2013 / Pages 463-472
DEMO and Next-Step Facilities / Proceedings of the Twentieth Topical Meeting on the Technology of Fusion Energy (TOFE-2012) (Part 2) Nashville, Tennessee, August 27-31, 2012
Magnetic fusion development toward DEMO will most likely require a number of fusion nuclear facilities (FNF), intermediate between ITER and DEMO, to test and validate plasma and nuclear technologies and to advance the level of system integration. The FNF mission space is wide, ranging from basic materials research to net electricity demonstration, so there is correspondingly a choice among machine options, scope, and risk in planning such a step. Readiness requirements to proceed with a DEMO are examined, and two FNF options are assessed in terms of the contributions they would make to closing DEMO readiness gaps, and their readiness to themselves proceed with engineering design about ten years from now. An advanced tokamak (AT) pilot plant with superconducting coils and a mission to demonstrate net electricity generation would go a long way toward DEMO. As a next step, however, a pilot plant would entail greater risk than a copper-coil FNSF-AT with its more focussed mission and technology requirements. The stellarator path to DEMO is briefly discussed. Regardless of the choice of FNF option, an accompanying science and technology development program, also aimed at DEMO readiness, is absolutely essential.