With the ITER experiment on track to begin operations in 5-10 years, the United States has the opportunity to begin planning for its first fusion energy pilot plant. This study will map out the high-level scientific, technical, and logistical goals and key innovations needed to support the development of a fusion test plant that can serve as a model for producing electricity at the lowest possible capital cost.
This is a follow-on activity to the 2019 National Academies report, the Final Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) shall assemble a committee to provide guidance to the U.S. Department of Energy, and others, that are aligned with the objective of constructing a pilot plant in the United States that produces electricity from fusion at the lowest possible capital cost ("Pilot Plant"). In the study, to be completed within eight months of project initiation, the committee shall provide a concise report that addresses the following points:
In addressing the first bullet in the statement of task, the committee should consider the key goals for each of the plant's anticipated phases of operation. Areas for key goals that the committee might consider include scientific (e.g., materials and systems performance and integration), technical (e.g., electrical output and availability), economic (e.g., capital costs and time frame, operating and maintenance costs), environmental (e.g., level of radioactive wastes), and safety-related (e.g., regulatory, tritium inventory).
In carrying out the statement of task, the committee is encouraged to seek input from potential "future owners" of power plants, such as electric utility companies, and potential manufacturers of fusion power plant components, to broadly characterize the energy market for fusion and to provide input on what they would look for in a fusion pilot plant and how such plants can contribute to national energy needs.
The link to the Academies' announcement is at: