Kyoto Fusioneering Designs Test Facility for Fusion Power Plant Equipment

Japan’s Kyoto Fusioneering Ltd (KF) has completed the preliminary design of an integrated test facility for fusion power plant equipment, with construction expected to begin in Japan around August. The facility, named UNITY – Unique Integrated Testing Facility – aims to demonstrate power generation using fusion-relevant technologies in 2024.

UNITY has a pioneering design that can test both the heat extraction and fuel cycle systems required for fusion power plants in a single facility. With the ability to test under flexible conditions, UNITY will be the leading power generation system test platform for private fusion companies, allowing these companies to focus their resources on developing the power core. of merger.

UNITY is equipped with a test blanket module, both liquid metal and molten salt primary cooling loops, heat exchangers, tritium recovery system and electricity generator ; in addition, they will be integrated with a test bypass module, tritium pumps and a tritium fuel circulation system. First power generation is planned for the end of 2024, when all relevant components for future fusion power plants will be simultaneously demonstrated under commercial conditions.

KF, a start-up spun off from Kyoto University, has raised over $17 million to date and now employs 50 people worldwide. KF’s engineered products include a high-efficiency gyrotron for plasma heating, liquid metal blanket for heat extraction, proprietary tritium pumps and advanced heat exchangers. The objective of UNITY – the first facility of its type in the world – is to demonstrate a suite of equipment used from heat extraction to power generation under conditions close to those of a commercial merger of KF customers.

UNITY has completed the preliminary design phase and is starting its construction in August, which will be carried out in close collaboration with several major engineering companies in Japan. Initial construction of the test loop, which is the base of the facility, is expected to be completed by March 2023. Completion of UNITY’s full construction and subsequent demonstration of power generation is planned. by the end of 2025.

UNITY will enable the integrated testing of a suite of energy conversion equipment in a fusion power plant without the use of nuclear reactions by technically simulating the thermal and magnetic environment in a fusion power core. Similarly, the permeation of tritium will be simulated with deuterium. In addition to simulating a fusion power core environment, the facility is equipped with a cover originally designed for high temperature heat extraction, liquid metal/molten salt loops for the High temperature heat transfer, which will be through an advanced heat exchanger, to a power generation system. UNITY will also house a plasma heating system, plasma exhaust, hydrogen and tritium pumps, and a fusion fuel cycle demonstration system.

These components will not only be needed for the international DEMO-type plant, which will follow the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) under construction in France, but also for the power plant designs being developed in the private sector.

Kyoto Fusioneering is a privately funded technology start-up founded in 2019, with its Japanese headquarters in Tokyo and its UK office in Reading.

Image: Preliminary design of the world’s first integrated test facility for fusion power plant equipment (photo courtesy of Kyoto Fusioneering)

Leon E. Hill