Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 54 / Number 1 / July 2008 / Pages 122-126
Technical Paper / Blanket Design
Tritium will be responsible for a large fraction of the environmental impact of the first generation of DT fusion reactors. Today, the efforts of conceptual development of the tritium cycle for DEMO are mainly centred in the so called Inner Breeding Tritium Cycle, conceived as guarantee of reactor fuel self-sufficiency. The EU Fusion Programme develops for the short term of fusion power technology two breeding blanket conceptual designs both helium cooled. One uses Li-ceramic material (HCPB, Helium-Cooled Pebble Bed) and the other a liquid metal eutectic alloy (Pb15.7Li) (HCLL, Helium-Cooled Lithium Lead). Both are Li-6 enriched materials. At a proper scale designs will be tested as Test Blanket Modules in ITER. The tritium cycles linked to both blanket concepts are similar, with some different characteristics. The tritium is recovered from the He purge gas in the case of HCPB, and directly from the breeding alloy through a carrier gas in HCLL.
For a 3GWth self-sufficient fusion reactor the tritium breeding need is few hundred grams of tritium per day. Safety and environmental impact are today the top priority design criteria. Dose impact limits should determine the key margins and parameters in its conception. Today, transfer from the cycle to the environment is conservatively assumed to be operating in a 1-enclosure scheme through the tritium plant power conversion system (intermediate heat exchangers and helium blowers). Tritium loss is caused by HT and T2 permeation and simultaneous primary coolant leakage through steam generators. Primary coolant chemistry appears to be the most natural way to control tritium permeation from the breeder into primary coolant and from primary coolant through SG by H2 tritium flux isotopic swamping or steel (EUROFER/INCOLOY) oxidation.
A primary coolant chemistry optimization is proposed. Dynamic flow process diagrams of tritium fluxes are developed ad-hoc and coupled with tritiated effluents dose impact evaluations. Dose assessments are obtained from the use of appropriate numeric tools (NORMTRI).