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Fusion and the World Energy Scene Chris Llewellyn Smith Director UKAEA Culham Chairman Consultative Committee for Eurato PowerPoint Presentation
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Fusion and the World Energy Scene Chris Llewellyn Smith Director UKAEA Culham Chairman Consultative Committee for Euratom on Fusion (CCE-FU). If chance of zero or very small  should stop achieving viable fusion R&D fusion power is reasonable  should develop as fast as possible

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Fusion and the World Energy SceneChris Llewellyn SmithDirector UKAEA CulhamChairman Consultative Committee for Euratom on Fusion (CCE-FU)

If chance of zero or very small  should stop achieving viable fusion R&D

fusion power is reasonable  should develop as fast as possible

What is a “reasonable” chance depends on

    • Security of future access to fossil fuels (in era of rapidly increasing energy use) – very country dependent
    • Degree of concern about continuing use of fossil fuels
    • View of potential of other alternatives to fossil fuels
    • View of cost of fusion development

(will touch on all these issues)

According to Clive Cookson (Science Editor of the Financial Times)

“Even if ITER runs well over budget, its spending is unlikely to exceed $1bn a year. That would be a small price to pay even for a 20% chance of giving the world another energy option” I hope to convince you that

- This is right

- Chance of success is > 20%


  • The Energy Challenge - world energy scene; climate change
  • Meeting the challenge - portfolio of necessary measures;
  • cost targets for new energy sources
  • European Fusion Power Plant Conceptual Study
  • Culham Fast Track Study
  • What should we be doing in parallel to building ITER?
  • The cost of fusion R&D
  • Conclusions
world energy scene i
World Energy Scene (I)
  • 1) The world uses a lot of energy
  • Average power consumption = 13.6 TWs, or 2.2 kWs per person
  • [world energy [electricity] market ~ $3 trillion [$1 trillion] pa]
  • - very unevenly (OECD 6.2kWs/person; Bangladesh 0.20 kWs/person)
  • 2) World energy use is expected to grow
  • - growth necessary to lift billions of people out of poverty
  • 3) 80% is generated by burning fossil fuels
  •  climate change & debilitating pollution
  • - which won’t last for ever
  • Need major new (clean) energy sources - requires new technology
world energy scene ii
World Energy Scene (II)
  • 4) Use of primary energy
  • - In USA: 34% residential & commercial; 37% industrial; 26% transport (~30% domestic)
  • ~1/3 of primary energy => electricity (@ ~ 35% efficiency => 12.4% of world’s energy use))
  • Fraction → electricity ~ development (14.3% USA; 6.0% Bangladesh) and is likely to grow
  • Fuel  electricity very country dependent

e.g. coal = 35% in UK*, 54% in USA, 76% in China

* falling as EU emission directives => closure of coal power stations; without new nuclear build the UK likely to be 70% reliant on (mainly imported) gas by 2020

future energy use
Future Energy Use
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects the world’s energy use to increase 60% by 2030 (while population expected to grow from 6.2B to 8.1B) - driven largely by growth of energy use and population in India (current use = 0.7 kWs/person, vs. OECD average of 6.2 kWs/person) and China (current use = 1.3 kWs/person)
  • Strong link between energy use and the Human Development Index (HDI ~ life expectancy at birth + adult literacy and school enrolment + gross national product per capita at purchasing power parity) – need increased energy use to lift millions out of poverty

HDI ( ~ life expectancy at birth + adult literacy & school enrolment + GNP per capita at PPP) versus Primary Energy Demand per Capita (2002) in tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) pa [1 toe pa = 1.33 kWs]

Note shoulder in HDI vs energy-use curve at ~ 3 toe pa [= 4.0 kWs] per capita
  • To bring those using less than 3 toe up to the shoulder, world energy use would have to
    • double at constant population
    • increase by a factor 2.6 with the predicted 2030 population of 8.1B
  • If those using more reduced consumption to 3 toe pa pc, the factors would be
  • 1.8 at constant population
  • 2.4 with 8.1B

Carbon dioxide levels over the last 60,000 years - we are provoking the atmosphere!

SourceUniversity of Berne and National Oceanic, and Atmospheric Administration


There is widespread evidence of climate changee.g. Thames Barrier Now Closed Frequently to Counteract Increasing Flood Risk (=> potential damage ~ £30bn)

meeting the energy challenge will need
Meeting the Energy Challenge Will Need
  • Fiscal measures to change the behaviour of consumers, and provide incentives to expand use of low carbon technologies
  • Actions to improve efficiency (domestic, transport,…, grid)
  • Use of renewables where appropriate (although individually not hugely significant globally)
  • BUT only four sources capable in principle of meeting a large fraction of the world’s energy needs:
  • Burning fossil fuels (currently 80%) - develop & deploy CO2 capture and storage
  • Solar - seek breakthroughs in production and storage
  • Nuclear fission- hard to avoid if we are serious about reducing fossil fuel burning (at least until fusion available)
  • Fusion - with so few options, we must develop fusion as fast as possible, even if success is not 100% certain
cost targets for a new energy source are
Cost targets for a new energy source are
  • Moving (UK electricity price has increased from 2p/kWhr to ~ 5p/kWhr in the last year; who knows what it will be 35 years from now)
  • Very country dependent at any moment
  • Sensitive to introduction of carbon tax or equivalents:

EU Emissions Trading certificates (introduced earlier this year) were recently trading at €30/(tonne of CO2) => 3€cents/kWhr for coal generation (1.5€cents for gas)

  • Philosophy dependent– European studies target cost of more expensive power sources for which there is a market (ARIES targeted cheapest)
objectives of european p ower p lant c onceptual s tudy
Objectives of European Power Plant Conceptual Study
  • 1. Compared to earlier European studies:
  • Ensure the designs satisfy economic objectives
  • Update the plasma physics basis
  • (For both reasons, the parameters of the designs differ substantially from those of the earlier studies)
  • 2. Confirm the excellent safety and environmental features of fusion power
selection of ppcs model parameters
Selection of PPCS model parameters
  • Four “Models”, A - D, were studied as examples of a spectrum of possibilities
  • Ranging from near term plasma physics and materials to advanced
  • Systems code varied the parameters of the possible designs, subject to assigned plasma physics and technology rules and limits, to produce economic optimum
plasma physics basis
Plasma physics basis
  • Based on assessments made by expert panel appointed by European fusion programme
  • Near term Models (A & B): roughly 30% better than the original design basis of ITER
  • Models C & D: progressive improvements in performance - especially shaping, stability and divertor protection
materials basis
Materials basis
  • Model Divertor Blanket Blanket Blanket
  • structure other Temperature
  • A W/Cu/water Eurofer LiPb/water 300C
  • B W/Eurofer/He Eurofer Li4SiO4/Be/He 300-500C
  • C W/Eurofer/He ODS steel & LiPB/SiC/He 450-700C
  • Eurofer
  • D W/SiC/LiPb SiC LiPb 700-1100C

[Eurofer = low activation steel]

fusion power and dimensions
Fusion power and dimensions
  • All (by design) close to 1500 MWenet output
  • Thermodynamic efficiency increases with temperature (AD)
  • So fusion power falls from A (5.0 GW) to D (2.5 GW) [also because current drive power falls]
  • and size (and cost) falls from A to D
direct cost of fusion electricity
Direct cost of fusion electricity

[second figure for early model; first for mature technology]

direct costs scaling
Direct costs: scaling

The variation of direct cost of electricity with the main parameters is well fitted by:

  • In descending order of relative importance to economics:

A - plant availability

th - thermodynamic efficiency

Pe - net electrical output of the plant (which can be chosen)

N - normalised plasma pressure

N - normalised plasma density

  • It seems there are no “show-stopping” minimum values associated with any of these parameters, although all are potential degraders of economic performance
disposition of activated materials
Disposition of activated materials
  • For ALL the Models:
  • Activation falls rapidly: by a factor 10,000 after a hundred years
  • No waste for permanent repository disposal: no long-term waste burden on future generations
  • (Figure shows data for Power Station with 1.5 GW net electrical output [‘Model B’]: others are similar)
overall ppcs summary
Overall PPCS summary
  • Even near-term Models haveacceptable economics (in some parts of the world)
  • All Models have very good safety and environmental impact, now established with greater confidence
  • The main thrusts of the European and world fusion programmes are on the right lines
strategic implications
Strategic implications
  • The PPCS revealed a number of needs:
  • In depth study of DEMO – now underway
  • Further R&D (development and testing of He-cooled divertor concepts capable of tolerating > 10MW/m2, remote handling facility to develop maintenance concepts high availability, further study of He- cooled blankets)
  • It also showed that economically acceptable fusion power plants,with major safety and environmental advantages, are now accessible on a “fast-track, through ITER and without major materials advances (although characterisation and testing at IFMIF will be essential).
culham fast track study builds on important earlier work in europe and the usa
CULHAM FAST TRACK STUDY(Builds on important earlier work in Europe and the USA)
  • Idea develop fast track model to conventional tokamak based Demonstrator Power station (DEMO)
  • + critical path analysis for development of fusion
  •  prioritise R&D
  •  motivate support for, and drive forward, rapid development of fusion
  • Work about to be taken forward by in the framework of EFDA (European Fusion Development Agreement)
essence of the fast track i
Essence of the Fast Track (I)
  • First stage
  • ITER - recent site choice, with USA on-board (=> key intellectual contributions) is great news
  • IFMIF on the same time scale (accelerated by using money)
  • [Assume: Acceleration of ITER exploitation, by focussing programme of existing Tokamaks (JET,DIII-D,JT60,…) on supporting rapid achievement of ITER’s goals;
  • ITER & IFMIF programmes prioritised ~ DEMO relevance]
  • Second stage
  • DEMO (assumed to be a conventional tokamak): forfinal integration and reliability development. Realistically, there may be several DEMOs, roughly in parallel
  • Then commercial fusion power
essence of fast track 2
Essence of Fast Track (2)
  • Assume a major change of mind-set, to a disciplined project-oriented “industrial”approach to fusion development + adequate funding
  • Compare fusion with the way that flight and fission were developed! There were the equivalents of many DEMOs and many materials test facilities (~ 24 fission materials test reactors).

In parallel to fast track to (conventional tokamak-based) DEMO needConcept Development:

Stellarators, spherical tokamaks,…

  • additional physics (feed  fast track)
  • basis for alternative DEMOs/power stations – for which ITER will provide burning plasma physics and blanket testing
  • insurance policy
  • Targets (from power plant studies)
  • Issues and their resolution by devices
  • Prioritisation, focus and co-ordination to speed the programme
  • “Pillars” - ITER + IFMIF + existing tokamaks (JET, DIII-D, JT60,ASDEX-U,…)
  • “Buttresses” to reduce risks, and especially in case of Component Test Facility (CTF) - speed up the programme
  • DEMO phase 1 is effectively (a very expensive) CTF in the minimalist “pillars only” model, which leads to electricity generation sooner, but reliable commercial fusion power later
  • Pillars only model described only because it is simpler
buttresses reduce risk acceleration
BUTTRESSES  Reduce Risk/Acceleration
  • Multi-beam material test facility - study damage from irradiation with heavy ions to material samples with implanted Helium ( + hydrogen?)
  • Satellite tokamak - to be operated in parallel with ITER, as part of ITER programme, to test new modes of operation, plasma technologies,...
  • Component Test Facility (CTF) - to test engineering structures (joints, …) in neutron fluences typical of fusion power stations
  • We assume that a ‘fast track CTF’ (possibly a small spherical tokamak that would not need to breed tritium?) could be operating with D-T in 2026
  • Assuming successful development,it would speed up the advent of fusion powersignificantlyandreduce risks (note that in ‘Pillars only’ model DEMO phase 1 is effectively a very expensive and large CTF)
ppcs fast track conclusions i
  • 1) Power stations with acceptable performance are accessible without major advances (barring major adverse surprises)
  • 2)Culham fast track study shows that
  • If ITER and IFMIF start in parallel, then with adequate funding, a change of mind set and no major surprises:
  • DEMO phase 1 operation 2031
  • DEMO phase 2 (high reliability) operation 2038
  • Commercial power stations in operation 2048
  • This could be speeded up (+ risk reduced, reliabilty of first power stations increased) if a Component Test Facility could be operating with D-T in 2026:
  • DEMO (high reliability) operation 2034
  • Commercial power stations in operation 2044
fast track conclusions ii
  • The results of this study are not a prediction: it won’t happen without
  • Funding* to begin ITER in parallel with IFMIF (and also to maintain a vigorous non-ITER technology and physics program)
  • A change of mind set
  • orif there are major adverse surprises.
  • * c/f world electricity (energy) market ~ $1 trillion pa ($3 trillion pa)
  • Most frequent comment/question from outsiders:
  • The result is disappointingly slow: could you go much faster with more money?
fusion agenda in parallel to building iter
Fusion Agenda in Parallel to Building ITER
  • The ITER construction budget will go mainly to industry
  • It should ideally be accompanied by increased funding for accompanying fusion activities:
  • prepare for rapid exploitation of ITER
  • train fusion scientists and engineers for the ITER era
  • push forward fusion while ITER is being built: in particular

=> increased work on technology and materials, and start building IFMIF

Sir David King (Chief Scientific Advisor to UK Government)

“It would be a total dereliction of the case for ITER if the material project was not up and running in parallel”

capitalise on ITER investment

european commission s proposed specific fusion programme during seventh framework programme
European Commission’s Proposed Specific Fusion Programme during Seventh Framework Programme
  • “To develop the knowledge basis for, and to realise, ITER as the major step towards the creation of prototype reactors for power stations”
  • The proposal includes
  • The realisation of ITER
  • R&D in preparation for ITER, including ITER focussed programme at JET
  • Technology activities in preparation for DEMO, including establishment of a dedicated project team and implementation of the EVEDA to prepare for construction of IFMIF + materials and technology work
  • R&D for the longer term (including concept development, theory, socio-economic studies)
  • Proposed that the budget will double (=> half to ITER construction)
world energy spending
World Energy Spending
  • World energy (electricity) market ~ $3 tr ($1 tr) pa
  • Publicly funded energy R&D down 50% globally since 1980 in real terms: currently ~ 0.3% of market. Private funding down also, e.g. - 67% in USA 1985-97
  • Increased energy R&D needed across the board
  • Fusion spend is small on the scale of the energy market and the challenge
  • What about relative spending on fusion and (e.g.) Renewables?
  • Most government support for renewables consist of subsidies to bring relatively mature technologies to the market, e.g in Europe:
  • Energy market: €700 billion
  • Energy subsidies: €28 billion(€5.4 billion to renewables)
  • Energy R&D: € 2 billion (€500 million to fusion)









Oil and gas


EU energy subsidy and R&D~ 30 Billion Euro (per year)

Source : EEA, Energy subsidies in the European Union: A brief overview, 2004.

Fusion and fission are displayed separately using the IEA government-R&D data base and EURATOM 6th framework programme data

final conclusions
Final Conclusions
  • In view of the impending energy crunch (supply, climate change), the relatively small cost, the promising outlook

Fusion power should be developed as one of very few options for base-load power, even if the chance of success is not 100%

  • ITER site choice is great news, but in addition to ITER we need - to start IFMIF as soon as possible, increase work on materials and technology, continue to work on alternative concepts
  • ITER investment almost all => industry; must meanwhile maintain or increase level of other fusion activities (=> rapid exploitation of ITER, train scientists and engineers for the ITER-era, work towards IFMIF, develop fusion technologies…) in order to maximise return from ITER
  • A suitably organised and funded programme can make fusion a reality in our lifetimes