Although there was no excessive media coverage, a new step was taken last week for a project that aims to dissuade the people of Granada escúzar in relation to the investigation of nuclear fusion, the energy of “the stars”. In Zagreb and in the presence of the kings, Spain and Croatia signed the first international agreement on the construction of the so-called IFMIF WOMENa world-first particle accelerator that will contribute to the construction of the first nuclear fusion facility to generate electricity, a milestone to be reached by the middle of this century.
The project goes hand in hand with another ongoing project: ITERS, in the south of France. There 35 countries are building a fusion plant (tokamak) to experiment and try to control this type of energy along the lines of what happens in the sun, where millions of tons of hydrogen nuclei react and fuse, releasing a large amount of heat.
The next step will be the construction of a facility capable of generating electricity from fusion in a controlled and stable manner (DEMO project). And as a previous step, IFMIF is DONE: the Spanish facilities will have the mission to test different materials to see if they are able to withstand the extreme conditions that created the fusion reactions and can be used to build future power plants.
That particle accelerator that will rise in Escúzar will produce a jet of deuterons (made of deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen) that will strike a curtain of liquid lithium. The resulting high-energy neutrons are intended to simulate the damage that neutrons from a fusion reactor would cause. Samples made of “different materials” would be irradiated with it, he explained LD José Aguilar, the Coordinator of the Technical Office of IFMIF DONES.
Operational in ten years
The throttle is expected to start working 2033; By then, a complex will be built that will include the accelerator and other facilities, for which an investment of 700 million euros. As the host country, Spain bears 50% of the construction costs; Half is provided by the central government through the Ministry of Science and the other half by the Junta de Andalucía through its Department of Universities, Research and Innovation.
Work began this fall with the first excavation and fence work on the Escúzar property: in the coming months the administrative and visitation building, the multipurpose warehouse and the access control building will be built, some auxiliary structures “that will be very useful for the mobilization of the international team that will come to Granada in the coming years,” says Aguilar. This can be expected by the end of next year Part of the complex is fully functional.
Meanwhile, engineering work begun years ago continues “to prepare for the formal project launch” that will come with the constitution in early 2023 Steering Committeein which “All countries and institutions will be represented that make a contribution or have an interest to make a contribution”. Today, according to Aguilar, “more than 14 countries of the European Union” work together in this development phase and cultivate “scientific and technical” cooperation with international allies “who are very committed and interested in IFMIF-DONES like Japan are .”
competitors and allies
The project emphasizes that up to this point, since the machines are already working on the Escúzar land, a lot of work has been done by engineers, scientists and institutions. They say that as part of the ITER project, “a few years ago, the need was identified for a large scientific facility to validate the materials with which we will build the fusion reactors”. Spain, Croatia and Poland have decided to present their candidacy to a project that will ultimately remain in Andalusia after the departure from Warsaw and the agreement between Madrid and Zagreb.
Aguilar highlights how Spain “has played a leading role in the fusion energy sector”, both in generating knowledge through institutions like Ciemat and in the Contribution that Spanish industry makes every year in related projects like ITER.
The effects of IFMIF DONES
Granada was confirmed in 2017 as the site of “unique in the world” plants and that they will have other industrial applications in addition to nuclear fusion. The region hopes to become one technological reference center in Spain and in the world.
The consortium estimates that construction, operation and decommissioning will cause a burden of 7,767 million euros; Now they expect me to create some 62,000 jobsof which 35,663 will correspond to Andalusia.
The IFMIF DONES coordinator emphasizes how exciting the installation already is in the region: “The acceptance, affection and support of the local population (and everyone else) is very high. so much The property of more than 100,000 m² was given to us by the municipality of Escúzar free of charge for the implementation of the project”.