Possible Strategies for a Broadened Fast
Track Approach to Fusion Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics laboratory
Symposium on Fusion Engineering
September 28, 2005
The Most Frequently Asked Questions
• Q - When will we get fusion energy?
• A - 35 years to a non commercial DEMO
• Q - Why is something so important taking so long?
• A - Tougher than we thought, not enough money,
• End of Conversation
EU Fast Track Strategy
• In response to criticism from various European scientists that fusion would
take 50 years, and the “87 questions from the Bundestag”, the EU initiated a
study in 2001 led by Sir David King.
• Bottom Line - 35 years to a non commercial DEMO
References: Fire Fusion Library
• Accelerated Development of Fusion Power, I Cook, N Taylor, D Ward, L
Baker, T Hender, UKAEA FUS 521 EURATOM/UKAEA Fusion, Feb 2005, D.
Maisonnier ISFNT 2005
• Excerpts from Cris Lewellyn Smith’s IAEA 2004 Talk, and US visit in 2005
EU Fast Track Strategy
year 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050
technology issues (e.g. plasma issues (e.g.
plasma-surface disruption avoidance)
low-duty D-T high-duty D-
H & D operation
operation T operation
ITER license construction TBM: checkout and TBM performance
second D-T operation phase
EVEDA construction operation: steels testing other materials testing
construction phase 1 blanket operation phase 1
DEMO conceptual design engineering design blanket design & construct &
phase 2 blanket construct & operation phase 2
prototyping install install
plasma design optimisation
optimisation for high availability
Power plant conceptual design construction operate
C. Lewellyn Smith IAEA 2004
2. JA / EU roadmap to Fusion DEMO
FY 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035
Basic performance phase extension phase Decomi
ITER Construction ssioning
program Test of breeding blanket
Tokamaks JT-60 and JET
Achieve Q=20, 400s
Achieve Q~5 steady-state operation
Proof of principle of breeding
Fusion Development of breeding blanket
Fusion material development (inc. IFMIF)
DEMO physics input Confirm physics database
for starting EDA
Confirm material database
DEMO Concept exploration CDA-like EDA/R&D construction power production
Coordination of DEMO physics and tech. R&D
Decision of construction Grid connection
US 35 Year Plan
• Requested by DOE to bolster case for US joining ITER negotiations.
• 35 years to first electricity production using MFE or IFE
• Report generally characterized as DOA in Washington
Official Plans are Really “Slow track”
• Its been 30 years to DEMO for 55 years.
• Twenty years since the start of ITER discussions, and construction has not
• As a result fusion gets one paragraph in serious books or article about future
• We used to have more ambitious plans
• 1976 Plan
• 1980 MFE act
• Mid 80s Plans e.g., Technical Planning Activity
1976 US Plan for Fusion
Fusion Power by Magnetic Fusion Program Plan July 1976 ERDA – 76/110/1
Base program only
• Logic V became the basis for the MFE Act of 1980.
• The US Fusion Program evolved from Logic IV to Logic I - we never get
The Magnetic Fusion Engineering Act of 1980
• Operation of Fusion Engineering Device (burning plasma and tests of
components for engineering purposes) by 1990 ( 9 years)
• Operation of Fusion DEMO by 2000- prototype energy (electricity
production) system of sufficient size to provide safety, availability and ready
extrapolation to commercial size, need not be economically competitive
with then existing energy sources. (19 years)
• Budget (relative to October 7, 1980 -start of FY 1981):
• 1982 +20%
• 1983 + 20%
• double budget within 7 years
• without inflation
- How did we do relative to this plan?
Comparison of MFE Act with Actual Budget/Progress
The FED (burning plasma and technology tests) should have been
done by end of 2001 according to the actual money spent on MFE).
External Conditions are Changing
• Concerns about energy supplies have risen to awareness levels not seen
since the mid 1970s.
• oil reserves
• growing demand
• global climate change
• Manhattan Project for Alternate Energy- T . Freidman NY Times Sep-05
• Fusion is seldom mentioned as an important part of the solution except
near the end of this century - by then other energy sources will have filled
• If a second energy crisis appears, we should be ready. Fusion was able to
catch the wave with the 1970’s Energy Crisis because“ we” were ready.
How fast could we find out if fusion energy is a possibility?
• Change the goal from DEMO date to a Proof of Fusion date. Did we
establish the scientific feasibility of fusion or is it yet to be done??
• What are the two or three key issues that if settled would convince
decision makers that fusion energy was credible?
• How fast could these be addressed?
• What could fusion do in a decade?
• Is a totally new paradigm needed?
a new community approach
We should know the answer these questions!!!!
The Fusion in a Decade Challenge
Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably
themselves will not be realized. D. Burnham, architect
J. Sethian 2003
• What could be done in the next decade to increase the credibility of fusion?
• Operation of Fusion Engineering Device (burning plasma and tests
of components for engineering purposes) within a decade
• Advanced FIRE described yesterday is an example
• other tokamak based systems
• ICF already has NIF delivering a burning plasma within 5 years.
ITER and FIRE would provide a strong basis for Adv. DEMO
ITER FIRE ARIES-RS
Fusion Gain 10(H), 5(AT) 10(H), 5(AT) 25 (AT)
Fusion Power (MW) 500 - 350 150 2170
Power Density(MWm-3) 0.6 5.6 6.2
Wall Loading Gn(MWm-2) 0.6 2 4
Pulse Duration (s) 500 - 3000 20 - 35 20,000,000
(tCR, % equilibrated) 2 -10, 86 - >99.9% 2 - 5, 86 - >99% steady
Mass of Fusion Core (tonnes) 23,000 1,400 13,000
ARIES Studies have Defined the Critical Plasma and
Technology Issues for Fusion Energy
High Gain Pheat/Rx ~ 100MW/m
Q ~ 25 - 50 Helium Pumping
ntET ~ 6x1021 m-3skeV Tritium Retention
Pa/Pheat = fa ≈ 90%
High Power Density
Pf/V~ 6 MWm-3
p ~10 atm Steady-State
Gn ≈ 4 MWm-2 ~ 90% Bootstrap
Significant advances are needed in each area.
Metrics are needed in each area to measure progress.
Fusion Needs Metrics to Measure Progress
• need to be understandable
• need several metrics for each major issue
• track progress against plan
Some examples -
Fusion Power or Fusion Energy/pulse vs year
pressure, b (which one ? Plasma b , fusion b )
pulse length s, time constants
Power densities - plasma, wall, blanket, etc
Uncle Sam’s Thoughts on the Fast Track
I want you to get on with fusion,
and make a major step forward within a decade.