DEMO demonstration power plant


IPP’s DEMO Studies project treats physical and technological questions that have to be clarified for preparation of a demonstration power plant.

The road to a fusion power plant, whether tokamak (blue) or stellarator (green): If DEMO is built as a tokamak involving parallel research in a stellarator with ignited plasma, the first fusion power plant could be of both the tokamak and stellarator types.
Graphic: IPP

The know-how gained with ITER is to yield the principles underlying construction of a demonstration power plant (DEMO) that affords all the functions of a power plant. This could be followed up with the first commercial fusion power plant.

The objectives set for DEMO are still generally formulated for the time being: The device is to supply the power grid with a few hundred megawatts of electric energy, demonstrate sufficient reliability and availability, and work with a closed fuel cycle. The latter means that the device must itself produce beforehand the tritium it needs. According to the schedule of the European Fusion Programme DEMO is to supply power about the middle of the century.

It will distinctly surpass its predecessor, ITER: Instead of plasma pulses lasting about five minutes as are to be provided by ITER, DEMO will be calling for two to four hours or even continuous operation. Whereas ITER will be investigating the production of tritium from lithium in separate test modules, DEMO must be able to supply itself with tritium completely independently. Instead of the conventional materials for the in-vessel cladding in ITER, DEMO will use low-activation materials. Furthermore, the DEMO plasma will produce more neutrons than that of ITER, and so the wall materials have to withstand higher loads.

The research results of the next few years will serve to make the designs for DEMO more and more specific. The DEMO Studies project was therefore launched at IPP in 2010.