According to the European Blanket Programme two blanket concepts, the Helium Cooled Pebble Bed (HCPB) and a Helium Cooled Lithium Lead (HCLL) will be tested in ITER. During 2004 the test blanket modules (TBM) of both concepts were redesigned with the goal to use as much as possible similar design options and fabrication techniques for both types in order to reduce the European effort for TBM development. The result is a robust TBM box being able to withstand 8 MPa internal pressure in case of in-box LOCA; the TBM box consists of First wall (FW), caps, stiffening grid and manifolds. The box is filled with typically 18 and 24 breeding units (BU), for HCPB and HCLL respectively. A breeding unit has about 200 mm in poloidal and toroidal direction and about 400 mm in radial direction; the design is adapted to contain and cooling ceramic breeder/beryllium pebble beds for the HCPB and eutectic Lithium-Lead for the HCLL.

The use of a new material, EUROFER, and the innovative design of these Helium Cooled components call for a large qualification programme before the installation in ITER; availability and safety of ITER should not be jeopardised by a failure of these components. Fabrication technologies especially in the welding processes (diffusion welding, EB, TIG, LASER) need to be tested in the manufacturing of large mock-ups; an extensive out-of-pile programme in Helium facility should be foreseen for the verification of the concept from basic helium cooling functions (uniformity of flow in parallel channels, heat transfer coefficient in FW, etc.) up to the verification of large portions of the TBM design under relevant ITER loading.

In ITER the TBM will have the main objective to collect information that will contribute to the final design of DEMO blankets. A strategy has been proposed in 2001 that leads to the tests in ITER 4 different Test Blanket Modules (TBM's) type during the first 10 years of ITER operation. For the new HCPB design this strategy is confirmed with some additional possibilities taking into account the modular design of the breeding zone.