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Tritium Extraction from Liquid Pb-16Li: A Critical Review of Candidate Technologies for ITER and DEMO Applications

I. Ricapito, A. Ciampichetti, R. Lässer, Y. Poitevin, M. Utili

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 60 / Number 3 / Pages 1159-1162

October 2011


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Extraction of tritium from liquid lead lithium eutectic alloy is a key topic for the feasibility of any PbLi based tritium breeding blanket (BB). Particularly in DEMO, high tritium extraction efficiency will be required in order to keep low the tritium concentration in the Pb-16Li loop. This is essential to minimize tritium release into the environment and tritium permeation from BB into the primary cooling system. In addition, the tritium extraction process needs to be highly reliable in order not to impact negatively on the operation of the whole fusion reactor, ITER or DEMO.

In the present paper, a critical review of the main candidate technologies for tritium extraction from Pb-16Li, particularly gas liquid contactors and vacuum permeators, is accomplished. The intrinsic limits and possible advantages of these technologies are presented and discussed, in the light of considerations coming directly from mathematical models describing their behaviour as well as from the experimental results so far achieved. Needs in terms of R&D activities are identified.

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