Starlite Engineering Group Meeting Minutes (Rev. 1, 11/7/94)

27 October 1994


Attendees: F. Najmabadi, D. K. Sze, I. Sviatoslavsky, C. Wong, R. Miller, M. Tillack


These minutes are intended for internal use by the Starlite Engineering group leaders. Further distribution is discouraged.

The topics covered in the meeting included:

1. Scope of effort

2. Definition of Demo

3. Output of the study

4. Design choices

5. Organizational issues

6. Schedule and reporting

These minutes are organized by topic, rather than by order in which they were discussed.

1. Scope of effort

Engineering group activities will cover all reactor components. The physics group will support us (such as for the design of rf heating and current drive systems, plasma control systems, plasma-facing materials and components); however, the lead responsibility for design of components is with the engineering group. Physics group leaders include Jardin, Ehst and Mau. Direct support from T. K. Mau is expected in the design of rf hardware.

2. Definition of Demo

The definition of Demo is to be provided under Task 1 by F. Najmabadi in the Mission and Goals statement which is currently undergoing revision. The Aug. 1 TeX version is available in the ARIES archives. This group is encouraged to provide feedback and to start translating these goals into the subsystems level, including quantification of design requirements.

Some discussion of the differences between Demo and a power plant such as ARIES took place. Some possible differences include: the length of operation of Demo may be shorter, and the design of Demo may achieve only some set of minimum (rather than optimum) goals. It was suggested that Demo is based on a more near-term extrapolation of technology. This was contested by the program leader; one key feature of Starlite is its systematic approach to satisfy the Demo design requirements, without prejudging the maturity of individual technologies under the current rate of progress.

An idea emerging from OFE recently suggests that Demo might be operated with a phased approach, in which the first phase involves some extent of testing. The recent input from the Utility Advisory Committee seems in conflict with this approach; further discussion was tabled.

3. Output of the study

Both long-term and near-term objectives were discussed at length.

Providing two reference power plant conceptual designs is a key goal. The level of detail to be provided was discussed. Sufficient detail must be provided to allow complete engineering drawings to be made (but not to actually produce them) for all critical components or systems. These might be necessary, for example, for the design of ITER test modules. The level of detail required to allow engineering drawings will be tailored to the needs of the individual systems.

Assessment of designs is another objective. Some of the elements necessary to complete this task include definition of the mission and goals (and translation to the subsystem level), definition of the WBS, and identification and analysis of critical issues.

Quantification of issues and testing needs will be performed; however, planning R&D programs is a relatively lower priority, and will be done towards the end of the study, time permitting.

Obtaining community-wide consensus is an important goal of Starlite. To this end, the relationship to programs outside of reactor studies was discussed. "Stakeholder" involvement will be fostered in part through "town meetings" (which are already held in conjunction with project meetings) and, later on, specialist workshops.

A figure showing the major fusion program elements as a function of time and technology progress was discussed at length. This type of figure will be developed as part of the task to define and evaluate pathways to commercialization. Development of a more sophisticated "checkerboard" of attributes was suggested for the purpose of evaluating facility proposals and their contribution to the commercialization of fusion. This will be revisited as part of the pathways task at a later date.

Near-term objectives. The question of design choices led to the consideration of ferritic steel (FS) as a structural material. As the rejection of FS could be controversial and have a major impact on existing programs, a task was defined on the "Assessment of Ferritic Steel as a Structural Material for Demo". Some of the aspects of the assessment were discussed, including:

- materials behavior (Billone)

- tokamak engineering performance and impacts

(possibly Sze/Wong or Sviatoslavsky?)

- radiological and safety consequences (McCarthy)

- R&D requirements (Billone?)

- fabrication and assembly (Sviataslavsky)

Before completing the definition of this task and creating a task group, a more complete list of design attributes is needed for the purpose of evaluating FS. This will evolve from the overall Starlite mission and goals. M. Tillack will initiate this effort.

One of the important outputs of Starlite is the definition of critical issues for the design candidates. A quantitative description of issues helps to evaluate options and to define R&D needs. This effort is being coordinated by C. Wong. D. K. Sze will provide input for the SiC/He and V/Li blanket candidates.

4. Design choices

No support was expressed for a comparison and selection process within Starlite. However, a critical part of the project involves thorough documentation for defensible design approaches.

Some concerns were expressed regarding the limitation of the performance of SiC/SiC composites as the plasma-facing structural material for the divertor. The question of the balance between new, or innovative, design approaches was discussed. It is intended to expend the vast majority of the design effort on mainline approaches, as defined by existing U.S. development programs and recent reactor studies (i.e., ARIES). New or innovative approaches may be carried in parallel, but will require additional effort by advocates of the concepts. Wong feels that it is too early to lock down design approaches, and that we should evaluate the mainline approaches based on the Demo mission and goals statements before making design choices.

5. Organizational issues

Resources. Participation in the engineering activities of Starlite include many organizations, but the resources are very limited. We should review the WBS and identify additional technical support needed in areas bthat are weak. Participation is expected from the following organizations (key participants in CAPS):


ANL SZE, HUA, BILLONE, Brooks, Hassanein, (Majumdar?)

UW SVIATASLAVSKI, EL-Guebali, KHATER, Mogahed, (Blanchard?)

GA WONG, SAGER, SILADY, Schleicher, Leuer


Raytheon (safety and RAMI interface)

MIT BROMBERG, Titus, Schultz

RPI (Safety & Licensing interface)

INEL (Safety)

LANL (Anderson)

PPPL Kessel



Interface Issues. Interface issues should be discussed in the next full Starlite meeting. The issues need to be defined and specific questions posed to the other groups.

6. Schedule and reporting

The period for completion of the effort is esimated to be ~3 years, starting in Oct. 1994. We should start performing design work by about March 1995.

It was decided to initiate quarterly progress reports. The reports will contain three sections (with lead authors in parentheses): 1. systems studies (Miller/Waganer), 2. engineering (Tillack), and 3. physics (Najmabadi). Once per year, the quarterly report will be written for the purpose of external publicity, in a more fancy (perhaps glossy) format. The target date for the first report is around the beginning of the year.

As initial guidance, the progress reports will be ~15 pages, with each subsection ~5 pages. Lead authors are responsible for obtaining input from their groups.

Project information services were discussed, including existing files on the ALISA ARIES archives and via a new method called a "Web server". The ARIES archives currently are found in Access is via FTP (User Name: ari_arch, Password: ucla00). The Web server will be set up in the near future. Users will need a "browser", such as "Mosaic" to access the information.