The world has about 24 kilograms of Tritium The planned 1 GW commercial scale prototype Tokamak would burn that supply in 2 months. Currently 1 kilogram of Tritium costs $100 million per kilogram.
The plan is for DEMO to start breeding tritium as soon as possible after it starts up.
Everything about the Tokamak project is big and expensive.
Unlike Lawrenceville Plasma Physics and other high potential small nuclear fusion projects which might make projections which have big hurdles before then achieve technical success. The Tokamaks has insane plans after technical success.
DEMO (DEMOnstration Power Plant) is a proposed nuclear fusion power plant that is intended to build upon the expected success of the ITER experimental nuclear fusion reactor. The objectives of DEMO are usually understood to lie somewhere between those of ITER and a “first of a kind” commercial station. While there is no clear international consensus on exact parameters or scope, the following parameters are often used as a baseline for design studies: Whereas ITER’s goal is to produce 500 megawatts of fusion power for at least 500 seconds, the goal of DEMO will be to produce at least four times that much fusion power on a continual basis. Moreover, while ITER’s goal is to produce 10 times as much power as is required for breakeven, DEMO’s goal is to produce 25 times as much power. DEMO’s 2 to 4 gigawatts of thermal output will be on the scale of a modern electric power plant. Also notably, DEMO is intended to be the first fusion reactor to generate electrical power. Earlier experiments, such as ITER, merely dissipate the thermal power they produce into the atmosphere as steam.
To achieve its goals, DEMO must have linear dimensions about 15% larger than ITER and a plasma density about 30% greater than ITER. As a prototype commercial fusion reactor DEMO could make fusion energy available by 2033. The ITER tokamak machine will be almost 30 meters high, weigh 23,000 tons, and house an estimated one million components. DEMO is 15% larger than ITER, so 26,000 tons and 35 meters high (15 stories high).
PROTO is a beyond DEMO experiment, part of European Commission long-term strategy for research of fusion energy. PROTO would act as a prototype power station, taking in any remaining technology refinements, and demonstrating electricity generation on a commercial basis. It is only expected after DEMO, meaning a post-2050 timeline, and may or may not be a second part of DEMO/PROTO experiment. This might possibly make PROTO the first commercial nuclear fusion power plant in the world.
The following timetable was presented at the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in 2004 by Prof. Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith. These dates are conceptual and as such are subject to change.
Conceptual design is to be complete by 2017
Engineering design is to be complete by 2024
The first construction phase is to last from 2024 to 2033
The first phase of operation is to last from 2033 to 2038
The plant is then to be expanded/updated
The second phase of operation is to last from 2040 onwards
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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