Posted on: 11th December 2015

#11 The first-wall component

The first-wall component for a nuclear fusion reactor or what is known as the plasma facing walls have to withstand some harsh conditions. EUROfusion Research Unit at Jülich Forschungszentrum has developed a first-wall composite component for use in a nuclear fusion reactor. The component comprises a fibre-reinforced graphite heat shield with a lead-through that contains a copper-chromium-zirconium alloy cooling tube. The component is ideal for applications that have to withstand a high rate of heat transfer. Developed for and successfully tested in EUROfusion’s JET tokamak, the copper-chromium-zirconium alloy cooling tube was found to be highly resistant to thermal and neutron stress and also to thermal shock.

Because the first-wall component has been designed to withstand nuclear fusion reactor conditions it finds applications in areas where materials have to tolerate a high rate of heat transfer such as energy generation, aerospace technologies, and plasma waste treatment.

Image: First Wall Component, credit: FUTTA Website: http://www.esa-tec.eu

Image: First Wall Component, credit: FUTTA Website: http://www.esa-tec.eu

The complexity and the multidisciplinary nature of fusion research produced number of spin-offs that have found applications in industry, other scientific disciplines, and technological advances. The areas that have benefited from fusion research span a variety of fields ranging from medicine and material science to computing and astrophysics.

EUROfusion has identified some of these spin-offs, looked at fusion research aspects that have the potential for short-term benefits, and prepared a non-exhaustive list of fusion spin-offs which demonstrate the short-term benefits of fusion research on the way to fusion electricity.