Talks and presentations

The impact of disruptions on the economics of a tokamak power plant

March 14, 2023

Guest seminar, MIT Energy Intiative - Fusion Study Team, Cambridge, MA

Tokamaks are often considered a leading candidate for near term, cost-effective fusion energy, but these devices are susceptible to sudden loss of confinement events called “disruptions.” The threat of disruptions has garnered serious attention in research and development for the next generation of burning plasma experiments, such as ITER, but has received little treatment in economic studies of magnetic fusion energy. In this talk, we present a model for quantifying the effect of disruptions on the cost of electricity produced by a tokamak power plant (TPP). We outline the various ways disruptions increase costs and decrease revenues, introduce metrics to quantify these effects, and add them to a Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) model. Additionally, we identify several rate-limiting repair steps and introduce a classification system of disruption types based on the time to return to operations. We demonstrate how the LCOE model can be used to find the cost of electricity and requirements for disruption handling of a TPP, and we further highlight where future research can have a strong impact in neutralizing the “showstopping” potential of disruptions