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Achieving Successful Fusion Energy Commercialization in the United States: A Comprehensive Analysis

Sean Michaels

Apr 11, 2023

Kronos Fusion Energy's S.M.A.R.T. 40 Commercialization Strategy aims to address the challenges of fusion energy commercialization in the United States by developing an aneutronic fuel source and sustainable tritium breeding infrastructure. By incorporating cutting-edge solutions and focusing on the development of the S.M.A.R.T. 40 Spherical Torus, Kronos Fusion Energy seeks to achieve their goal of producing commercial Fusion Energy Generators by 2036. This will help secure the United States' long-term national interests and ensure a sustainable, environmentally friendly energy future.

Fusion energy has long been regarded as the ultimate solution to the world's increasing energy demands and environmental concerns. Despite the numerous advantages of fusion energy, its successful commercialization remains elusive due to the formidable technical challenges associated with achieving sustained fusion reactions, maintaining plasma stability, and developing materials that can withstand the harsh conditions within a fusion reactor.

Fusion energy has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry by providing an abundant, clean, and safe source of power. Achieving commercial fusion energy would greatly contribute to solving the world's pressing energy and environmental challenges, including climate change, air pollution, and resource depletion. This paper presents the Kronos Fusion Energy S.M.A.R.T. 40 Commercialization Strategy, which seeks to develop a sustainable fusion energy generator and a consistent source of fuel for the generator.

Theme 1 - Scalable Fusion Energy Generator Design with Consistent Fuel Source

The Kronos Fusion Energy S.M.A.R.T. 40 reactor is based on the concept of a Superconducting Minimum-Aspect-Ratio Torus (S.M.A.R.T.), which aims to demonstrate high confinement efficiency with increased "beta" values, reaching up to 40% in the future. The S.M.A.R.T. design incorporates numerous innovations in plasma physics, reactor engineering, and material science to achieve a fusion reactor that is capable of sustaining aneutronic fusion reactions, which greatly reduces the issues associated with neutron radiation, reactor maintenance, and safety.

The S.M.A.R.T. 40 reactor incorporates the following innovations:

The Kronos Fusion Energy S.M.A.R.T. 40 Commercialization Strategy charts a course for sustainable fusion energy commercialization by focusing on two key aspects:Theme 1 - Scalable Fusion Energy Generator Design with Consistent Fuel SourceThe S.M.A.R.T. 40 reactor design offers a scalable and efficient solution for fusion energy generation. Aiming to bypass the challenges associated with tritium as a fuel due to its radioactive and weaponizable properties, an aneutronic fuel like helium-3 is proposed. Nevertheless, as helium-3 is generated from tritium decay, with a 12.3-year half-life, a consistent tritium source is required.

At Kronos Fusion Energy, we are merging the best concepts from global fusion research and incorporating our technical innovations and AI+ML to develop the S.M.A.R.T. 40 torus. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Superconducting Minimum-Aspect-Ratio Torus, designed to demonstrate high confinement efficiency and increased "beta" values, potentially reaching 40% in the future. The reactor utilizes ReBCO HTS superconductors to achieve a central magnetic field of 10 tesla and a peak field exceeding 25 tesla.

The structural support is constructed from either nitrogen-strengthened, high-manganese Hadley austenitic stainless steel or high-electrical conductivity carbon-fiber composites. S.M.A.R.T. employs an aneutronic fuel (D - He3).Numerous innovations are being explored at Kronos Fusion Energy to enhance the S.M.A.R.T. tokamak's performance and efficiency. These include the use of outboard ice 'pistons,' introducing 'pitch' and 'yaw' in the TF coils, employing graphene-based detectors, investigating hafnium-carbide for ultra-high-temperature components, utilizing an ultra-high-strength carbon-fiber 'cocoon,' winding HTS tapes with tapered width, using non-insulated HTS conductors, employing a solid bucking cylinder, and attaining plasma breakdown with neutral-beam injectors (NBI).

Kronos Fusion Energy has developed an extensive range of simulation products for rapid fusion energy commercialization, built on Python, SAP, MATLAB/SIMULINK, Amazon AWS, and D-wave platforms. These products simulate various aspects of fusion energy generators, including confinement magnets, plasma density, ignition process, fuel cycle systems, aneutronic fuel systems, safety thresholds, and other conditions.

Theme 2 - U.S. Tritium Breeding Facility for Sustained Fusion Energy Commercialization

To ensure the successful and sustained commercialization of Kronos S.M.A.R.T. 40 fusion energy generators, we are researching and planning to construct an accelerator-driven system (ADS) for industrial-scale tritium production. An ADS combines a subcritical nuclear reactor core with a high-energy proton or electron accelerator. This system can direct high-energy protons at lithium, leading to the production of tritium and helium without generating long-lived radioactive waste. The ADS can be adjusted to produce tritium at the desired rate and purity.

A unique advantage of the ADS tritium breeding facility we propose is that it can supply its own energy through the transmutation of nuclear waste, reducing the amount of external energy required to run the facility. This process also allows the accelerator to be located close to spent fuel storage sites, providing an efficient means of fuel recycling.

In summary, the Kronos Fusion Energy S.M.A.R.T. 40 Commercialization Strategy emphasizes the significance of a scalable reactor design using an aneutronic fuel like helium-3 and the establishment of a U.S. tritium breeding facility to guarantee a continuous fuel supply for fusion energy commercialization. This strategy involves developing advanced reactor

designs, incorporating cutting-edge innovations, and utilizing simulation tools to accelerate fusion energy commercialization. By focusing on these key aspects, Kronos Fusion Energy aims to bring practical and sustainable fusion energy generation to reality by 2036, transforming the energy landscape and providing a cleaner, more abundant power source for the future.

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