The European fusion programme is 'reactor oriented' and it is aimed at the successive demonstration of the scientific, the technological and the economic feasibility of fusion power. The European Power Plant Conceptual Study (PPCS) has been a study of conceptual designs of five commercial fusion power plants and the main emphasis was on system integration. It focused on five power plant models which are illustrative of a wider spectrum of possibilities. They are all based on the tokamak concept and they have approximately the same net electrical power output, 1500 MWe. These span a range from relatively near-term, based on limited technology and plasma physics extrapolations, to an advanced conception. The PPCS allows one to clarify the concept of DEMO, the device that will bridge the gap between ITER and the first-of-a-kind fusion power plant. An assessment of the PPCS models with limited extrapolations highlighted a number of issues that must be addressed to establish the DEMO physics and technological basis.
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