DEMO Prospective R&D Workshop looks ahead to opportunities and challenges in fusion industrialization

Source: EUROfusion

In early October, group members Ezequiel Goldberg and Adriana Ghiozzi attended the second biannual DEMO Prospective Research and Development Workshop hosted by EPFL and organized by EUROfusion.

DEMO, or the DEMOnstration fusion power plant, refers to fusion devices to be developed post-ITER which, unlike ITER, will be connected to the electric grid and demonstrate net power production in a closed fuel cycle. Broadly, the goal of the workshop was to identify and discuss the current technical, engineering, and economic gaps between a DEMO device and a future fleet of fully-industrialized electricity-producing fusion devices.

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Evolution and validation of neutron simulations with NEUTRO – Article in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion

Building on the work described in our previous posts (please see links below), we have continued developing NEUTRO, the neutronics module in Alya. The latest advancements are portrayed in the article entitled “Validating NEUTRO, a deterministic finite element neutron transport solver for fusion applications, with literature tests, experimental benchmarks and other neutronic codes” that has been recently published in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion (PPCF).

Neutron damage to fusion reactor materials and tritium self-sufficiency are two significant challenges that need to be solved for fusion to be a viable energy source integrated with the electricity grid. The development of future fusion reactors requires a thorough understanding and the ability to predict these processes, which in turn means highly demanding simulations need to be performed to assist in the analysis of the consequences of neutrons interacting with the vast array of reactor components.

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Developing a deterministic neutron transport solver – FusionCAT Task

FusionCAT is an initiative coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC) in which seven Catalan institutions team up and collaborate in the field of research and development of fusion energy technology. The main goal is to develop state-of-the-art tools to simulate coupled physics phenomena that take place in fusion reactors leveraging the advantages of high-performance computing clusters.

Future energy production fusion reactors such as DEMO are based on the massive production of plasma neutrons. This includes their impact and effects on breeding blankets to multiply neutron output and sustain the fuel cycle. To achieve efficient energy production, the fuel cycle must be understood and optimized, which is why the second project within FusionCAT, labelled “Neutronics, tritium breeding and operational fuel cycle”, is oriented towards the analysis of the interaction between neutrons and reactor components. In this project, the first task involves the development of a high-fidelity deterministic neutron transport solver called NEUTRO.

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