The tritium pathways and handling systems in 20 different conceptual magnetic and inertial confinement fusion reactor designs have been examined and compared. The primary objectives of this investigation were
- to determine the effects, if any, of the plasma confinement scheme, reactor fueling method, and first-wall protection scheme on the design and relative complexity of the tritium handling systems.
- to quantify the advantages and disadvantages of removing the tritium breeding function from the reactor.
It is concluded that, from a tritium handling viewpoint, inertial confinement reactors with either gasprotected or magnetically protected first walls, pellet-fueled tandem mirrors, and reversed-field pinch reactors are preferred. On the other hand, the tritium handling problem is at a maximum in laser-driven reactors with either a wetted wall or lithium fall protection, tokamaks, standard mirrors, and fast-liner reactors. Theta pinches and neutral-beam-fueled tandem mirrors belong to an intermediate category. It is also concluded that transfer of the tritium breeding function from the reactor blanket to an external source does not result in significant benefits.