Parsons and LLNL scientists and engineers performed design and engineering work for power plant pre-conceptual designs based on the anticipated laser fusion demonstrations at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). Work included identifying concepts of operations and maintenance (O&M) and associated requirements relevant to fusion power plant systems analysis.
A laser fusion power plant would incorporate a large process and power conversion facility with a laser system and fusion engine serving as the heat source, based in part on some of the systems and technologies advanced at NIF. Process operations would be similar in scope to those used in chemical, oil refinery, and nuclear waste processing facilities, while power conversion operations would be similar to those used in commercial thermal power plants. While some aspects of the tritium fuel cycle can be based on existing technologies, many aspects of a laser fusion power plant presents several important and unique O&M requirements that demand new solutions. For example, onsite recovery of tritium; unique remote material handling systems for use in areas with high radiation, radioactive materials, or high temperatures; a five-year fusion engine target chamber replacement cycle with other annual and multi-year cycles anticipated for major maintenance of other systems, structures, and components (SSC); and unique SSC for fusion target waste recycling streams.
This paper describes fusion power plant O&M concepts and requirements, how O&M requirements could be met in design, and how basic organizational and planning issues can be addressed for a safe, reliable, economic, and feasible fusion power plant.