The need of a fusion‐like neutron source for the qualification of the materials to be used in a fusion power plant has been widely recognized since the beginning of the Fusion Programme.
This Fusion Programme is based in three main pillars, ITER, DEMO and IFMIF‐DONES, being this last one the fusion neutron source facility for materials development and qualification. This fusion relevant neutron source facility (“the Facility”) will provide to DEMO the necessary data for material testing under similar irradiating conditions. Therefore, the Facility should be constructed and operated soon enough to obtain material information to meet DEMO and future power plants planned schedules in compliance with fusion roadmaps.
The Roadmap for the Fusion electricity production is summarized in the next figure.
The requirements for this neutron source are to produce fusion‐like neutrons with an intensity high enough to allow accelerated testing of the materials, able to reach up to a damage level above the expected operational lifetime and with an irradiation volume large enough to allow the characterization of the macroscopic properties of the materials of interest required for the engineering design.
A number of workshops held during the 90 ́s identified that the best approach to reach this requirements is based on a facility based on the Li(d,nx) reactions, given rise to the so‐called IFMIF (International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility) project. This approach has been further confirmed by the conclusion of an EU review panel (Accelerator ‐ driven Neutron Sources for materials irradiation, Report from the Ad Hoc Group on options towards IFMIF; October 2014). In this analysis, it was recommended that the EU approach to this problem should be based on the DONES program.
The mission of the DONES program is to develop a database of fusion‐like neutron irradiation effects in the materials required for the construction of the Demonstration Fusion Power Reactor (DEMO) for benchmarking of radiation response of materials and, in order to do this, to provide a neutron source producing high‐energy neutrons at sufficient intensity and irradiation volume.
The main objective of the DONES Program derives from its mission:
- Generate materials irradiation test data for design, licensing, construction and safe operation of the fusion demonstration power reactor (DEMO), with its main characteristics as defined in the EU Roadmap under simulated fusion environment relevant to anticipated needs in radiation resistance for the structural materials in early DEMO.
- Generate database for benchmarking of radiation responses of materials hand in hand with computational material science.
- To provide a neutron source producing high energy neutrons at sufficient intensity and irradiation volume. In order to reach this objective, a new Facility (the DONES Facility) will be designed, build and operated.
The DONES Facility should be understood as the set of Buildings and Systems that are to be built to house the fusion relevant neutron source and that will allow to fulfil the objectives of the Program. Additionally, given the fact that DONES will be available during ITER operation, the possibility that DONES could assist ITER in some aspects of its nuclear operation phase should not be disregarded.