On the exploration of innovative concepts for fusion chamber technology

On the exploration of innovative concepts for fusion chamber technology,10.1016/S0920-3796(00)00433-6,Fusion Engineering and Design,M. A Abdou,A Ying,

On the exploration of innovative concepts for fusion chamber technology   (Citations: 56)
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M. A Abdou, A Ying, N Morley, K Gulec, S Smolentsev, M Kotschenreuther, S Malang, S Zinkle, T Rognlien, P Fogarty, B Nelson, R Nygren
This study, called APEX, is exploring novel concepts for fusion chamber technology that can substantially improve the attractiveness of fusion energy systems. The emphasis of the study is on fundamental understanding and advancing the underlying engineering sciences, integration of the physics and engineering requirements, and enhancing innovation for the chamber technology components surrounding the plasma. The chamber technology goals in APEX include: (1) high power density capability with neutron wall load >10 MW/m2 and surface heat flux >2 MW/m2, (2) high power conversion efficiency (>40%), (3) high availability, and (4) simple technological and material constraints. Two classes of innovative concepts have emerged that offer great promise and deserve further research and development. The first class seeks to eliminate the solid “bare” first wall by flowing liquids facing the plasma. This liquid wall idea evolved during the APEX study into a number of concepts based on: (a) using liquid metals (Li or Sn–Li) or a molten salt (Flibe) as the working liquid, (b) utilizing electromagnetic, inertial and/or other types of forces to restrain the liquid against a backing wall and control the hydrodynamic flow configurations, and (c) employing a thin (∼2 cm) or thick (∼40 cm) liquid layer to remove the surface heat flux and attenuate the neutrons. These liquid wall concepts have some common features but also have widely different issues and merits. Some of the attractive features of liquid walls include the potential for: (1) high power density capability; (2) higher plasma β and stable physics regimes if liquid metals are used; (3) increased disruption survivability; (4) reduced volume of radioactive waste; (5) reduced radiation damage in structural materials; and (6) higher availability. Analyses show that not all of these potential advantages may be realized simultaneously in a single concept. However, the realization of only a subset of these advantages will result in remarkable progress toward attractive fusion energy systems. Of the many scientific and engineering issues for liquid walls, the most important are: (1) plasma–liquid interactions including both plasma–liquid surface and liquid wall–bulk plasma interactions; (2) hydrodynamic flow configuration control in complex geometries including penetrations; and (3) heat transfer at free surface and temperature control. The second class of concepts focuses on ideas for extending the capabilities, particularly the power density and operating temperature limits, of solid first walls. The most promising idea, called EVOLVE, is based on the use of a high-temperature refractory alloy (e.g. W–5% Re) with an innovative cooling scheme based on the use of the heat of vaporization of lithium. Calculations show that an evaporative system with Li at ∼1 200°C can remove the goal heat loads and result in a high power conversion efficiency. The vapor operating pressure is low, resulting in a very low operating stress in the structure. In addition, the lithium flow rate is about a factor of ten lower than that required for traditional self-cooled first wall/blanket concepts. Therefore, insulator coatings are not required. Key issues for EVOLVE include: (1) two-phase heat transfer and transport including MHD effects; (2) feasibility of fabricating entire blanket segments of W alloys; and (3) the effect of neutron irradiation on W.
Journal: Fusion Engineering and Design - FUSION ENG DES , vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 181-247, 2001
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