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Bringing Fusion to the U.S. Grid (2021)

Chapter: Appendix A: Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Bringing Fusion to the U.S. Grid. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25991.
Page 70

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A Statement of Task The committee will be charged with providing guidance to the U.S. Department of Energy, and others, that are aligned with the objective of constructing a pilot plant in the United States that produces electricity from fusion at the lowest possible capital cost (“Pilot Plant”). In the study, to be completed within 8 months of project initiation, the committee shall provide a concise report that addresses the following points: • In developing and carrying out a plan for building a Pilot Plant, key goals need to be established for all critical aspects of the Pilot Plant. Identify those key goals, independent of confinement concept, which a Pilot Plant must demonstrate during each of its anticipated phases of operation. • List the principal innovations needed for the private sector to address, perhaps in concert with efforts by DOE, to meet the key goals identified in the first bullet. CONSIDERATIONS In addressing the first bullet in the statement of task, the committee should consider the key goals for each of the plant’s anticipated phases of operation. Areas for key goals that the committee might consider include scientific (e.g., materials and systems performance and integration), technical (e.g., electrical output and availability), economic (e.g., capital costs and time frame, operating and maintenance costs), environmental (e.g., level of radioactive wastes), and safety-related (e.g., regulatory, tritium inventory). In carrying out the statement of task, the committee is encouraged to seek input from potential “future owners” of power plants, such as electric utility companies, and potential manufacturers of fusion power plant components, to broadly characterize the energy market for fusion and to provide input on what they would look for in a fusion pilot plant and how such plants can contribute to national energy needs. PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION A-1

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Fusion energy offers the prospect of addressing the nation's energy needs and contributing to the transition to a low-carbon emission electrical generation infrastructure. Technology and research results from U.S. investments in the major fusion burning plasma experiment known as ITER, coupled with a strong foundation of research funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), position the United States to begin planning for its first fusion pilot plant. Strong interest from the private sector is an additional motivating factor, as the process of decarbonizing and modernizing the nation's electric infrastructure accelerates and companies seek to lead the way.

At the request of DOE, Bringing Fusion to the U.S. Grid builds upon the work of the 2019 report Final Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research to identify the key goals and innovations - independent of confinement concept - that are needed to support the development of a U.S. fusion pilot plant that can serve as a model for producing electricity at the lowest possible capital cost.

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