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An Evaluation of Fusion Energy R&D Gaps Using Technology Readiness Levels

M. S. Tillack et al.

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 56 / Number 2 / August 2009 / Pages 949-956


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The ARIES Team currently is engaged in an effort called the "ARIES Pathways Study". The goals of this study are to evaluate remaining R&D needs toward practical fusion energy and to identify and evaluate possible "next step" devices to bridge the gap between ITER and an attractive power plant. In order to evaluate our current state of readiness and remaining R&D needs, we adopted a methodology called "Technology Readiness Levels". We defined a quantitative set of readiness levels that encompass the major technology challenges for fusion energy development, and have applied them to evaluate our current level of advancement and R&D needs for an advanced tokamak power plant concept based on recent ARIES designs. Results of the evaluation and recommendations for future R&D are presented.

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