On February 10th and 11th, the kickoff meeting for the “F4E-2008-GRT-09 (PNS-TBM)” grant was held at the F4E premises at Barcelona. Six EURATOM associates and affi liated organisations will cooperate on this grant and they submitted a joint proposal in September 2008. They formed the “European Test Blanket Module Consortium of Associates” (TBM-CA) in November 2008 and agreed to continue their cooperation throughout the entire TBM development phase. This is the fi rst multi-benefi ciary grant awarded by F4E in 2008.

While ITER will receive its required tritium fuel from external sources, DEMO and future fusion power plants will need to produce their own tritium themselves. Tritium is bred in special blankets at the vessel walls, utilising the neutrons produced during fusion reaction. Therefore, one of the objectives of ITER and thus the Test Blanket Module Consortium is to test suitable tritium-breeding processes. At the moment, there are two basic approaches studied in Europe: On the one hand, a liquid-metal concept based on Helium-Cooled Lithium-Lead (HCLL) with lithium as the tritium breeder and lead as the neutron multiplier. On the other hand, a solid matter concept based on Helium-Cooled Pebble-Bed (HCPB), which features lithium ceramic pebbles as the breeder and beryllium pebbles as the neutron multiplier. The task of TMBCA is to complete the TBM design in 2009. Once this is done it will be followed by a qualifi cation phase to verify and fi nalise the design which will last until 2015, then the fi rst TBM systems will be commissioned in ITER. From its start, ITER will be equipped with an ancillary equipment unit (AEU), which allows the TBM-CA to test the various TBMs inside the vessel. TBMs for each of the two concepts will undergo a series of experiments to test electromagnetic effects on the TBMs, their behaviour under high neutron fl ux, their characteristics and thermal and mechanical stresses. Finally, all these conditions will be combined in one last test.

The start of the TBM grant project constitutes a remarkable step forwards from the earlier collaborative, programmatic work under the EFDA framework and brings us closer to a project approach that will, of course, be the basis for all ITER-related work under F4E. The partners in the TBM-CA are: CEA, France, CIEMAT, Spain, ENEA, Italy, the Nuclear Research Institute, Husinec- Rez, Czech Republic, the KFKI Research Institute for Particle Nuclear Physics, in Budapest, Hungary, and Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Germany, which coordinates the TBM Consortium.

Contributed by the European Test Blanket Module Consortium of Associates and Fusion for Energy.

For more detailed version of this article please follow the link: https://www.euro-fusion.org/wpcms/news_and_events/FN_supplements/Test_Blanket_Module_Grant.pdf