A potentially attractive next-step towards fusion commercialization is a pilot plant, i.e. a device ultimately capable of small net electricity production in as compact a facility as possible and in a configuration scalable to a full-size power plant. A key capability for a pilot-plant programme is the production of high neutron fluence enabling fusion nuclear science and technology (FNST) research. It is found that for physics and technology assumptions between those assumed for ITER and nth-of-a-kind fusion power plant, it is possible to provide FNST-relevant neutron wall loading in pilot devices. Thus, it may be possible to utilize a single facility to perform FNST research utilizing reactor-relevant plasma, blanket, coil and auxiliary systems and maintenance schemes while also targeting net electricity production. In this paper three configurations for a pilot plant are considered: the advanced tokamak, spherical tokamak and compact stellarator. A range of configuration issues is considered including: radial build and blanket design, magnet systems, maintenance schemes, tritium consumption and self-sufficiency, physics scenarios and a brief assessment of research needs for the configurations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics