The Programme “Nuclear Fusion”
This programme collaborates with European and international partners on the development of a fusion power plant. The Nuclear Fusion programme is aligned with the European Roadmap to the Realization of Fusion Energy, which forms the basis of the organization and distribution of tasks across the European fusion programme. In this context, the Helmholtz Association focuses on four main areas. The Wendelstein 7-X research facility is intended to demonstrate the advantages of the “Stellarator” concept for fusion power plant design. In contrast to a tokamak, the stellarator configuration enables continuous operation without additional effort. The basic conditions for implementing a burning fusion plasma were already achieved in facilities based on the tokamak principle. The major new international project ITER is intended to achieve for the first time a positive energy balance in a magnetic confinement device that has almost the size of a power plant. Thus the field of “Tokamak Physics” at the Helmholtz Association focuses primarily on elucidating the basic physics principles of tokamak plasmas, preparing for the operation of the ITER facility and developing concepts for the first actual fusion power plant. The topic “Fusion Technologies and Materials” addresses the overall technological considerations and developments for ITER and the envisioned fusion power plant. This includes the conceptual development of individual fusion-specific power plant components and solving material-related issues. The programme’s research on “Plasma-Wall Interaction” addresses the crucial issue of how energy dissipates from the plasma and what repercussions this has on the lifespan and safety of a fusion power plant. Finally, plasma theory brings together all areas of plasma physics.
Participating Helmholtz Centres: FZJ, IPP, KIT