An independent panel of experts reviewed the R&D and design work of EUROfusion (the European fusion research organization) at DEMO, the future demonstration fusion power plant, from 19 to 25 November 2020. The Hungarian member of the 5-member international body is Dr. Attila Aszódi, professor of the Institute of Nuclear Techniques of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. The head of the board was the former director general of CERN and its members included leaders of large nuclear companies and research institutes. EUROfusion welcomes the panel’s recommendations on the results so far and on moving to the conceptual phase. The DEMO facility is being designed by the European fusion community together with industry. Specialists from the ELKH Centre for Energy Research are also involved in the implementation of the first fusion power plant, mainly in the framework of engineering design and various simulation tasks.

The ELKH Centre for Energy Research from Hungary participates in the work of the EUROfusion consortium to a large extent, partly by plasma physics research and technological developments. Most of these activities are aimed at the implementation of the current fusion facilities and the large ITER experimental facility, but are also gradually turning to the design of DEMO. In the current expert review of DEMO, the staff of the Institute of Nuclear Techniques of Budapest University of Technology and Economics and the ELKH Centre for Energy Research has provided a useful background and has been actively involved both in international and European fusion research.

EUROfusion

Artist’s concept of a fusion power plant. Source: EUROfusion

Realizing fusion energy

The EUROfusion consortium brings together researchers from across the EU, Switzerland and Ukraine with the goal to realize clean, low-carbon fusion energy as soon as possible. Its ultimate objective is to design and build the DEMO fusion demonstration power plant. This first-of-its-kind facility will demonstrate the net production of hundreds of megawatts of electricity, as well as essential technologies such as tritium breeding and remote maintenance.

EUROfusion takes a staged approach to designing DEMO, with industry-standard review practices including a gate review process. Each project phase is reviewed by a panel of independent experts before the project can advance to the next phase. This allows the DEMO team to learn from the experience of ITER and guarantees that DEMO has the support and involvement of the European fusion community and the companies that will design and construct it.

EUROfusion

Development engineer András Zsákai works with the DEMO CAD model

Attila Aszódi commented on the overview of DEMO’s plans as follows: “The DEMO Gate review was an extremely interesting exercise. I learned a lot about state-of-the-art fusion technology and hopefully the fusion community gained important feedback from me about safety, licensing, design, engineering and knowledge management. DEMO will be the next major step towards commercial fusion energy production. Europe ramping up its fusion R&D activities signals a new era in the field, with a lot of work for the research institutes and university laboratories.”