ITER Research Plan
The 400-page scenario
The ITER Organization has just made publically available the most recent version of the ITER Research Plan, a 400-page document that describes the present vision for operating the ITER Tokamak from First Plasma through high-fusion-gain deuterium-tritium operation.
From First Plasma through high-fusion-gain deuterium-tritium operation—the 400-page ITER Research Plan ''combines the detailed knowledge of the ITER Organization staff about the ITER facility with expertise from the Members' fusion research programs,'' says said Tim Luce, Director of the ITER Science & Operations Department.
The ITER Research Plan was initially developed during the ITER Design Review in 2007-2008
in order to analyze the experimental program towards high-fusion-gain deuterium-tritium operation. In the ensuing years it was further elaborated to identify the main lines of physics R&D required to support preparation for ITER operation, and to incorporate elements of the testing program for tritium breeding
technology in the fusion environment.
Since 2017—with the collaboration of fusion science experts from the ITER Members' physics communities—the ITER Research Plan has been undergoing revision in order to reflect the revised baseline cost and schedule for the project—Baseline 2016
Baseline 2016 identifies the date of First Plasma as December 2025 and lays out a multi-phase approach to full deuterium-tritium operation in 2035, in which periods of machine operation alternate with shutdown periods for further assembly. This "staged approach" to assembly is considered to represent the best compromise between the desire of all partners to advance quickly, technical constraints (including risk), and the financial constraints of the Members.
New! ITER Technical ReportsWith the acceptance of the revised ITER Baseline by the ITER Council in November 2016¹, a study was launched to bring major elements of the Research Plan in line with the framework of the staged approach to ITER construction to ensure that the operation of ITER required to commission ancillary systems was consistent with the phased installation of these systems. Also taken into account were the most recent advances in physics research.
ITER Technical Reports have recently been introduced to the ITER website at this address. The aim is to make available to the public the results of scientific and technical activities carried out under the ITER Agreement. Typically, they are versions of internal reports that have been deemed of interest for the wider scientific and technical community, but that are not submitted for conventional publication (scientific journals, books, etc.).
Scientists carrying out activities under the ITER Agreement can submit a report for publication as an ITER Technical Report following the same review and approval process as other publications at the ITER Organization. If you are interested, the ITER Document Control Section (firstname.lastname@example.org) is available to support you.
In the staged approach, two main phases are foreseen following First Plasma:
- Pre-Fusion Plasma Operation — in which the basic controls and protection systems are demonstrated, and the auxiliary heating systems and diagnostics are fully commissioned. (Two operational campaigns are expected.)
- Fusion Power Operation — in which ITER fusion performance goals are demonstrated. ITER fusion power production goals are the production of 500 MW of fusion power with an energy gain (Q) of Q=10 for >300 s, and in-principle steady-state operation with Q=5. The development of long-pulse inductive plasmas² for fusion technology development is also envisioned. (The ITER Research Plan anticipates at least three operating campaigns to be required to achieve these goals.)
The revision of the ITER Research Plan has involved a re-analysis of ITER plasma scenarios in each phase and the identification of open issues that need to be resolved by physics R&D with support of the ITER Members' fusion communities.
"This revision of the ITER Research Plan was a major effort, spearheaded by my predecessor, David Campbell," said Tim Luce, Director of the Science & Operations Department. "It combines the detailed knowledge of the ITER Organization staff about the ITER facility with expertise from the Members' fusion research programs. We are especially grateful for the delegates who were appointed by the Members to help revise this document. This release is the first time the ITER Research Plan has been publicly available, which we hope will enable a stronger partnership between the fusion community and the ITER Organization to realize the ITER goals."
The Plan will continue to be updated over the years to reflect the results of continuing fusion R&D and the detailed implementation of the staged approach to ITER assembly.
Click here to view/download the "ITER Research Plan within the Staged Approach" from the ITER Technical Reports page of the website.
¹ The overall project schedule was approved by all ITER Members at the Nineteenth ITER Council in November 2016; the overall project cost was approved "ad referendum," meaning that each Member is seeking approval of project costs through respective governmental budget processes.
² An inductive plasma is a tokamak plasma in which the circulating current is sustained using the central solenoid, as opposed to a steady-state plasma in which the plasma current is sustained by heating and current drive sources and plasma-driven processes.
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