The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Tokamak Energy Inc its eighth grant through its Innovation Network for Fusion Energy (INFUSE) program.
The INFUSE program is focused on accelerating fusion energy development through public-private research partnerships by involving the expertise and unique resources available at DOE laboratories and universities.
Tokamak Energy will team up with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Tennessee, to overcome a challenge that will have a significant impact on fusion power plant designs.
The project will assess the impact of helium produced by neutron activation on structural materials at generation rates and concentrations consistent with those expected in future fusion power plants.
Samara Levine, Irradiation Damage Specialist at Tokamak Energy, said: “As we continue to make progress on the design of a fusion pilot plant, it will be increasingly important to understand the effects of helium on structural components. Doing so will enable us to make informed material selection and design decisions for our first plant and beyond.
“This INFUSE award is an excellent example of U.S. national laboratories and private fusion industry working well together. We are delighted to be back working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to reveal the vital information contained within these neutron-irradiated metal samples.”
Tokamak Energy and ORNL will assess a set of neutron-irradiated steel samples, where helium was produced at fusion power plant-relevant generation rates and concentrations. The unmitigated build-up of helium could limit the lifetime and operating conditions of the materials because of unacceptable embrittlement, as well as swelling beyond the approved tolerance.
The 18 projects for the 2023 INFUSE awards were selected through a competitive peer review process. For more information visit infuse.ornl.gov.