mvanwink5 wrote: ↑
Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:44 pm
I suspect that all fusion plants will look similar once the auxiliary systems are added in. Everything has trade offs. ITER looks dead commercially.
I think that depends on the reactor design and fuel etc. Some (ZAP, Helion, LPPF, am I missing somone?) could be quite a bit smaller than others and some of them will even have direct conversion. So they might be in a building as small as a large single family home or small warehouse.
The smaller the reactor, the lower the overnight cost, which reduces risks for investors and makes it viable for more than just large utilities.
TAE is certainly on the bigger side. 80 meters in length for the reactor vessel alone is approaching ITER- like dimensions, though simpler geometry and overall simpler design still result in a smaller footprint for the whole facility. It is still seems big to me.
Helion's reactor is supposed to be about 20 meters in length and just 2 meters tall. So quite a bit smaller. It also produces less power, though.
ZAP's reactor core is tiny at just some 2 meters or so in diameter and height (including the Lithium- Lead tank around it). They will need a steam power plant though, will that comes with that. The smallest and most compact I have seen so far would be LPPF. Question is whether they can get it to work (though to be fair that question applies to everyone).
I agree that ITER sized Tokamaks won't lead to anything that is commercially viable. The entire facility would be big and expensive. Tritium inventory for startup will be a serious problem (compare the numbers in the CFS presentation that I just posted!). So the overnight costs will be huge and that will mean a huge risk. The ITER-style Tokamaks better hope that Helion's design works. So that there will be more Tritium on the market for them to buy