Posted on: 22nd February 2013

Korea presents plans for demonstration fusion power plant to EFDA

“Gap“ was a much-used word in a talk given by G.S. Lee on February 18 at EFDA in Garching, Germany. Lee, who had already helped establishing the South Korean fusion programme, leads the country’s activities towards a demonstration fusion reactor DEMO. DEMO is the intermediate step between ITER and the advent of commercial fusion power. Most countries active in fusion research are starting plans for such a device. EFDA has outlined the European plans for DEMO in the recently published roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy.

In his presentation, Lee described the K-DEMO programme, which currently embarks on a pre-conceptual design study of conceptual design activities. “We must start to close the gap between ITER and DEMO or commercial fusion“ he pointed out. “If we wait for ITER operation, we might lose momentum and about one decade in time.” K-DEMO is planned to be a steady-state operating, superconducting tokamak, also possibility for pulsed operation in an initial phase is not ruled out. Engineering design is to begin around 2022, two years after ITER takes up operation. K-DEMO construction is planned to start in 2027, the year ITER enters the deuterium-tritium stage. In its first phase, K-DEMO will serve as a test and qualification facility for materials and components. Electricity production is foreseen for the second phase, when K-DEMO is expected to deliver around 500 MW to the grid.

“The proposed timeframe and the general strategy for K-DEMO is quite similar to the recently published EU Roadmap, which targets electricity production in the late 2040s, “ commented EFDA Leader Francesco Romanelli. Under the umbrella of EFDA, the European fusion research community started its DEMO activities about two years ago. Both the European and the Korean DEMO programmes fully rely on ITER’s success and currently dedicate their utmost efforts to the ITER programme.

Potential collaborations
Lee came to EFDA to exchange some views with regards to DEMO design and R & D work. Materials development and development of heat exhaust concepts are potential areas of common interest, where in his view Europe has a leading position. “It is good to see several ITER partners starting with DEMO activities and I would expect increased momentum in that area now, “ said Gianfranco Federici, Head of the EFDA Power Plant Physics and Technology Department, who leads the European DEMO activities.