ARPA-E’s ALPHA program seeks to create and demonstrate tools to aid in the development of new, lower-cost pathways to fusion power and to enable more rapid progress in fusion research and development. Assuming we achieve excess energy production from a fusion core, a next critical step is to understand the capital costs associated with a fusion power plant. An initial capital cost study was performed by Bechtel National’s power plant cost team, augmented by members of the fusion community who have published in fusion cost estimating (Woodruff Scientific and Decysive Systems). The study was based upon four conceptual designs for a fusion core and present-day standard components for the balance of plant (heat exchanger, turbines, etc). The cost study team did not attempt to compose a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for a fusion power plant given the juxtaposition of the conceptual nature of the fusion core designs versus the level of granular knowledge commonly used as input for calculating an LCOE.

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