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Economic Evaluation of the Blanket Comparison and Selection Study

Lester M. Waganer

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 8 / Number 1P1 / July 1985 / Pages 55-76


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The economic impact of employing the highly ranked blankets in the Blanket Comparison and Selection Study (BCSS) was evaluated in the context of both a tokamak and a tandem mirror power reactor (TMR). The economic evaluation criterion was determined to be the cost of electricity. The influencing factors that were considered are the direct cost of the blankets and related systems; the annual cost of blanket replacement; and the performance of the blanket, heat transfer, and energy conversion systems. The technical and cost bases for comparison were those of the STARFIRE and Mirror Advanced Reactor Study conceptual design power plants. The economic evaluation results indicated that the nitrate-salt-cooled blanket concept is an economically attractive concept for either reactor type. The water-cooled, solid breeder blanket is attractive for the tokamak and somewhat less attractive for the TMR. The helium-cooled, liquid-lithium breeder blanket is the least economically desirable of higher ranked concepts. The remaining self-cooled liquid-metal and the helium-cooled blanket concepts represent moderately attractive concepts from an economic standpoint. These results are not in concert with those found in the other BCSS evaluation areas [engineering feasibility, safety, and research and development (R&D) requirements]. The blankets faring well economically had generally lower cost components, lower pumping power requirements, and good power production capability. On the other hand, helium- and lithium-cooled systems were preferred from the standpoints of safety, engineering feasibility, and R&D requirements. As the designs mature and the problems are solved (or not solved as the case may be), all these evaluation criteria will be melded into an economic evaluation that will then more correctly reflect the safety, engineering, and R&D cost influences. At present, the four criteria must be assessed separately and the perceived importance of the four general evaluation criteria established.

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