In order to reproduce the harsh radiation conditions inside a fusion reactor, it is necessary to build a specific neutron source based on the nuclear reaction between deuterium and lithium nuclei. The conceptual design of such an irradiation facility started in the 90´s under the name of IFMIF (International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility). This is one of the key facilities required for the design of DEMO, which will not only be based on the information obtained from ITER, but also on information related to the behavior of materials under the expected neutron irradiation, as provided by IFMIF. Therefore, IFMIF is part of the international effort to achieve Fusion as a viable energy source.
More information: IFMIF.
Currently, and since the Broader Approach agreement in 2007, the IFMIF/EVEDA (IFMIF Engineering Validation and Engineering Design Activities) project is being executed. This project intends to prove the technical feasibility of IFMIF project. The IFMIF/EVEDA project is subdivided in 4 sub-projects:
- IFMIF engineering design
- Validation Activities of the Lithium Loop System
- Validation Activities of the Irradiation Area System
- Validation Activities of the Accelerator System
The first three sub-projects have been completed and the goals achieved. There is only remaining the achievement of the last-subproject, the construction of the accelerator prototype similar to the ones planned for IFMIF (named LIPAc, Linear IFMIF Prototype Accelerator) with an energy of only 9 MeV. The problems associated to the spatial charge are bigger the lower the energy of the beam is, and therefore the major technical issues would be overcome if LIPAc can be built and operated.
The Spanish participation in LIPAc Project is based on the engineering design and the construction of several sub-systems and diagnostics which are:
- Engineering design and construction of the 9 MeV deuteron Beam Dump.
- Engineering design of the High Energy Beam Transport (HEBT) line.
- Engineering design and construction of the Mean Energy Beam Transport (MEBT) and their diagnostics systems.
- Engineering design and construction of the solenoids for the superconducting modules.
- Engineering design and construction of the High Power Radio Frequency (RF) System. The LNF has a Laboratory of High Power RF (shared with the company INDRA).
Also, the LNF has had an important participation in the first sub-project, being its director the responsible of the sub-project and participating in several technical areas:
- Design of the liquid breeder validation modulus
- Coordination of activity and availability studies
- Coordination of the activities related to the accelerators security system
Design of the systems in which the LNF is the responsible in the LIPAc subproject.
More information: IFMIF-EVEDA.
The early construction of an “Early DEMO” urgently requires the construction of a neutron irradiation plant. Thus, in the European framework it was decided to design and construct a facility able to produce such amount of damage as soon as possible. A discussion period was established to design the so-called Early Neutron Source (ENS). Following a proposal of the LNF, the DONES (DEMO-Oriented Neutron Source) design was adopted, which basically consists of a simplification of IFMIF. Currently the design of ENS is one of the EUROfusion Work Packages.
More information: IFMIF-DONES.