DEMO will be a fusion power plant demonstrating the integration into the grid architecture of an electric utility grid. The design of the power conversion chain is of particular importance, as it must adequately account for the specifics of nuclear fusion on the generation side and ensure compatibility with the electric utility grid at all times. One of the special challenges the foreseen pulsed operation, which affects the operation of the entire heat transport chain. This requires a time-dependant analysis of different concept design approaches to ensure proof of reliable operation and efficiency to obtain nuclear licensing. Several architectures of Balance of Plant were conceived and developed during the DEMO Pre-Concept Design Phase in order to suit needs and constraints of the in-vessel systems, with particular regard to the different blanket concepts. At this early design stage, emphasis was given to the achievement of robust solutions for all essential Balance of Plant systems, which have chiefly to ensure feasible and flexible operation modes during the main DEMO operating phases – Pulse, Dwell and ramp-up/down – and to adsorb and compensate for potential fusion power fluctuations during plasma flat-top. Although some criticalities, requiring further design improvements were identified, these preliminary assessments showed that the investigated cooling system architectures have the capability to restore nominal conditions after any of the abovementioned cases and that the overall availability could meet the DEMO top-level requirements. This paper describes the results of the studies on the tokamak coolant and Power Conversion System (PCS) options and critically highlights the aspects that require further work.
- Balance of plant