On the thermal dynamic behaviour of the helium-cooled DEMO fusion reactor

Ivo Moscato, Pietro Alessandro Di Maio, Luciana Barucca, Sergio Ciattaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The EU-DEMO conceptual design is being conducted among research institutions and universities from 26 countries of European Union, Switzerland and Ukraine. Its mission is to realise electricity from nuclear fusion reaction by 2050. As DEMO has been conceived to deliver net electricity to the grid, the choice of the Breeding Blanket (BB) coolant plays a pivotal role in the reactor design having a strong influence on plant operation, safety and maintenance. In particular, due to the pulsed nature of the heat source, the Primary Heat Transfer System (PHTS) becomes a very important actor of the Balance of Plant (BoP) together with the Power Conversion System (PCS). Moreover, aiming to mitigate the potential negative impact of plasma pulsing on BoP equipment, for the DEMO plant is also being investigated a "heat transfer chain" option which envisages an Intermediate Heat Transfer System (IHTS) equipped with an Energy Storage System (ESS) between PHTS and PCS. Within this framework, a preliminary study has been carried out to analyse the thermal dynamic behaviour of the IHTS system for the Helium-Cooled Pebble Bed (HCPB) BB concept during pulse/dwell transition which should be still considered as the normal operating mode of a fusion power plant. Starting from preliminary thermal-hydraulic calculations made in order to size the main BoP components, the global performances of DEMO BoP have been quantitatively assessed focusing the attention on the attitude of the whole IHTS to smooth the sudden power variations which come from the plasma. The paper describes criteria and rationale followed to develop a numerical model which manages to simulate simple transient scenarios of DEMO BoP. Results of numerical simulations are presented and critically discussed in order to point out the main issues that DEMO BoP has to overcome to achieve a viable electricity power output.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'On the thermal dynamic behaviour of the helium-cooled DEMO fusion reactor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this