Publications associated with Theoretical Astrophysics & Plasma Physics

Conceptual design study for heat exhaust management in the ARC fusion pilot plant

Fusion Engineering and Design 137 (2018) 221-242

AQ Kuang, NM Cao, AJ Creely, CA Dennett, J Hecla, B LaBombard, RA Tinguely, EA Tolman, H Hoffman, M Major, J Ruiz Ruiz, D Brunner, P Grover, C Laughman, BN Sorbom, DG Whyte

© 2018 Elsevier B.V. The ARC pilot plant conceptual design study has been extended beyond its initial scope [B. N. Sorbom et al., FED 100 (2015) 378] to explore options for managing ∼525 MW of fusion power generated in a compact, high field (B0 = 9.2 T) tokamak that is approximately the size of JET (R0 = 3.3 m). Taking advantage of ARC's novel design – demountable high temperature superconductor toroidal field (TF) magnets, poloidal magnetic field coils located inside the TF, and vacuum vessel (VV) immersed in molten salt FLiBe blanket – this follow-on study has identified innovative and potentially robust power exhaust management solutions. The superconducting poloidal field coil set has been reconfigured to produce double-null plasma equilibria with a long-leg X-point target divertor geometry. This design choice is motivated by recent modeling which indicates that such configurations enhance power handling and may attain a passively-stable detachment front that stays in the divertor leg over a wide power exhaust window. A modified VV accommodates the divertor legs while retaining the original core plasma volume and TF magnet size. The molten salt FLiBe blanket adequately shields all superconductors, functions as an efficient tritium breeder, and, with augmented forced flow loops, serves as an effective single-phase, low-pressure coolant for the divertor, VV, and breeding blanket. Advanced neutron transport calculations (MCNP) indicate a tritium breeding ratio of ∼1.08. The neutron damage rate (DPA/year) of the remote divertor targets is ∼3–30 times lower than that of the first wall. The entire VV (including divertor and first wall) can tolerate high damage rates since the demountable TF magnets allow the VV to be replaced every 1–2 years as a single unit, employing a vertical maintenance scheme. A tungsten swirl tube FLiBe coolant channel design, similar in geometry to that used by ITER, is considered for the divertor heat removal and shown capable of exhausting divertor heat flux levels of up to 12 MW/m2. Several novel, neutron tolerant diagnostics are explored for sensing power exhaust and for providing feedback control of divertor conditions over long time scales. These include measurement of Cherenkov radiation emitted in FLiBe to infer DT fusion reaction rate, measurement of divertor detachment front locations in the divertor legs with microwave interferometry, and monitoring “hotspots” on the divertor chamber walls via IR imaging through the FLiBe blanket.

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