The conventional road map for achieving power generation from fusion foresees commercial generation within 50 years. Two further generations of experimental machines are envisaged beyond ITER:
Fast track to fusion
- DEMO would be used to demonstrate all the technology related to the reactor and to produce, for the first time, significant amounts of electricity from fusion; while
- PROTO would act as a prototype power station, taking in any remaining technology refinements, and demonstrating electricity generation on a commercial basis.
A recent expert study has drawn up a ‘fast-track’ approach that could demonstrate the technical feasibility of fusion power on a 25-30 year timescale, from the start of ITER construction. To achieve this, sequential research steps need to be put in parallel, such as the joint realisation of IFMIF in the framework of international co-operation, while some of the technology tests planned for DEMO would be incorporated in the ITER experiment. A single DEMO/PROTO experiment would follow, producing a credible prototype for a power-generating fusion reactor.