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A unique Research Infrastructure for testing fusion materials in realistic conditions
The International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility - Demo Oriented NEutron Source (IFMIF-DONES) is a single-sited novel Research Infrastructure for testing, validation and qualification of the materials to be used in a fusion reactor. It is based on a unique neutron source with energy spectrum and flux tuned to those expected for the first wall containing future fusion reactors. Materials irradiation data under such conditions are of fundamental interest for the fusion community as those will feed and validate the modelling tools for materials radiation damage phenomena. The IFMIF-DONES will be a major step towards IFMIF as it will develop a unique high-current high-duty cycle accelerator technology, liquid metal target technology and advanced control systems.
IFMIF was first proposed to the ESFRI Roadmap in 2006, but the development of its concept was mostly carried out within the Broader Approach that will deliver the final results in 2020. The IFMIF-DONES will build on the results of the international community by establishing suitable collaboration schemes, whilst bringing back to Europe one important development in the roadmap to fusion energy.
The hard mono-energetic spectrum associated with deuterium-tritium fusion neutrons (14.1 MeV compared with <2 MeV on average in fission reactors) exhibit higher cross-sections for nuclear reactions that will generate significant amounts of H and He, as well as atomic displacements, leading to a presently undetermined degradation of structural materials after a few years of operation. Although fission and fusion materials share common issues, the study of radiation-induced damage for fusion materials necessarily has to go far beyond the damage level which is relevant for fission materials due to the the harder neutron spectrum. Therefore, specific sources, like the IFMIF and DONES, must be built to enable the development of fusion technology.
The original IFMIF project started in 1994 as an international scientific research program, carried out by Japan, the European Union, the United States, and Russia, and managed by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Since 2007, it has been pursued by Japan and the European Union under the Broader Approach Agreement in the field of fusion energy research, through the IFMIF/EVEDA (IFMIF Engineering Validation and Engineering Design Activities) project, which conducts engineering validation and engineering design activities for IFMIF, including IFMIF engineering design, Validation Activities of the Lithium Loop System, Validation Activities of the Irradiation Area System, Validation Activities of the Accelerator System that is still on-going with the design of the LIPAc prototype for the low energy section (9 MeV) of the IFMIF deuteron accelerator.
IFMIF-DONES is based on a 40 MeV, 125 mA in continuous wave mode (CW) deuteron accelerator (5 MW beam average power) hitting with a rectangular beam size (approx. 20 cm x 5 cm) a liquid Li screen target flowing at 15 m/s – to dissipate the beam power – and generating a flux of neutrons of 1018 m-2 s-1 with a broad peak at 14 MeV through stripping nuclear reactions, reproducing the expected conditions of fusion power plants. Materials are irradiated by the neutron beam as close as possible to the Li target to obtain damage rates up to 15 atomic displacements per year (dpa/year) under temperature controlled conditions. After a long irradiation period (up to two years), irradiated modules will be partially dismantled and the irradiated samples will be characterized.
EUROfusion and Fusion for Energy (F4E) started in 2015 a process to develop the engineering design of DONES and to identify possible EU sites to host the facility. In December 2017, F4E positively evaluated the joint Spain-Croatia proposal to site DONES in Granada. As the IFMIF-DONES enters the Roadmap 2018, it will be eligible for the Preparatory Phase grant by the EC and, simultaneously, will begin the Implementation Phase with the initial steps for the construction of the civil engineering infrastructure. Intense international activity is sought in order to benefit from the final results of the Broader Approach Agreement and to establish the broadest international collaboration in the design and construction of the DONES. ESFRI will assist and monitor since the beginning the developments of IFMIF-DONES.
Centro de Investigaciones
Energéticas, Medioambientales y
Tecnológicas – CIEMAT