Realising Fusion Electricity
The Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy is a document that outlines the pragmatic approach and the practical steps involved in hooking fusion energy to the electricity grid. The European Fusion Development Agreement or EFDA, the organisation that managed European fusion research prior to EUROfusion, published the first version of the roadmap in 2012. All the scientific programmes supported by EUROfusion are in keeping with the steps laid out in the Roadmap. The 2012 roadmap covers three periods: The European Research Framework Programme Horizon 2020, the years 2021-2030 and the time between 2031 and 2050.
The 2012 roadmap has broken the quest for fusion energy down into eight missions.
- Plasma regimes of operation
- Heat-exhaust systems
- Neutron resistant materials
- Tritium self-sufficiency
- Implementation of the intrinsic safety features of fusion
- Integrated DEMO design and system development
- Competitive cost of electricity
ITER is the key facility of the roadmap as it is expected to achieve most of the important milestones on the path to fusion power. Thus, the vast majority of resources proposed for Horizon 2020 are dedicated to ITER and its accompanying experiments. The second period is focussed on maximising ITER exploitation and on preparing the construction of a demonstration power plant DEMO, which will for the first time supply fusion electricity to the grid. Building and operating DEMO is the subject of the last roadmap phase.
In the future, the fusion programme will move from being laboratory-based and science-driven towards an industry- and technology-driven venture. The design, construction and operation of DEMO require intensive industry involvement. This will ensure that after a successful DEMO operation industry can take on the responsibility for building commercial fusion power plants.