Supply Chain Concerns for Commercial Fusion Reactors - Focus on Blanket Materials and HTS Tape

A. Shone, M.J. Ginsberg, A.L. Washington, C.J. Pickles, J.O. Astbury
Tokamak Energy, Inc.,
United States

Keywords: fusion, HTS magnets, spherical tokamak, Alloys


The quest for sustainable energy sources has intensified the exploration of fusion power, with spherical tokamaks emerging as promising candidates for compact and efficient reactors. This presentation delves into the critical supply chain considerations associated with commercial fusion reactors, and specifically spherical tokamaks, including structural components like HTS (High Temperature Superconductor) magnets and blanket materials. Blanket materials play a pivotal role in fusion reactor designs where they will have to withstand high operating temperatures, liquid metals, and neutron bombardment. However, the commercialization of fusion hinges on securing a stable supply chain for these materials, which poses challenges due to their limited global production capacity and potential geopolitical constraints. This necessitates strategic planning to ensure a robust and diversified supply chain, encompassing sourcing, processing, and distribution logistics to meet the burgeoning demand for blanket materials in fusion applications. Furthermore, the integration of HTS tape is indispensable for achieving efficient magnet confinement in spherical tokamaks, enabling sustained plasma stability and enhanced performance. The supply chain dynamics surrounding HTS tape involve intricate manufacturing processes, raw material sourcing, and quality control measures to ensure reliability and scalability. Challenges such as material purity, production yield, and cost optimization must be meticulously addressed to streamline the supply chain and facilitate the widespread adoption of HTS technology in fusion reactors. To support the commercialization of fusion energy across diverse reactor designs, comprehensive supply chain strategies must be formulated, encompassing collaborative partnerships, technological innovation, and risk mitigation measures. This entails fostering cooperation between industry stakeholders, research institutions, and government agencies to address supply chain vulnerabilities, enhance production capabilities, and promote regulatory frameworks conducive to sustainable fusion energy deployment. Dr. Andrew Shone, Fusion Development Lead, Tokamak Energy, Inc. will give an overview of the critical supply chain partnerships the company has built to bolster the fusion and HTS magnets ecosystem. Addressing the supply chain needs for blanket materials and high-temperature superconducting tape is imperative for advancing commercial fusion technologies. This helps to realize the transformative potential of fusion energy in mitigating global energy challenges. By fostering resilience, innovation, and collaboration in the supply chain ecosystem, we can accelerate the transition towards a clean and sustainable energy future powered by fusion.