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Fusion Science and Technology
NCSU’s advanced research reactor study to be funded by state
North Carolina’s fiscal year 2024 budget for the state has allocated $3 million for North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, to conduct a study to assess the feasibility for the establishment of an advanced nuclear research reactor.
Sara E. Ferry, Kevin B. Woller, Ethan E. Peterson, Caroline Sorensen, Dennis G. Whyte
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 79 | Number 1 | January 2023 | Pages 13-35
Technical Paper | doi.org/10.1080/15361055.2022.2078136
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The Liquid Immersion Blanket: Robust Accountancy (LIBRA) experiment will be a first-of-a-kind experiment to explore and develop the liquid immersion blanket (LIB) concept. The LIB is a radically simple molten–LiF-BeF2 (FLiBe)–salt tritium breeding blanket for deuterium-tritium (D-T)–fueled fusion power plants (FPPs) achieving a high tritium breeding ratio (TBR) in neutronics models. However, tritium breeding in FLiBe is inherently difficult to study experimentally. As a result, the coupled issues of FLiBe radiochemistry and tritium (T) transport are poorly understood. LIBRA approaches this challenge by simulating an FPP blanket environment using a D-T neutron generator and 1000 kg of FLiBe. LIBRA will investigate T breeding, containment, and extraction, coupled with FLiBe redox control and radiochemistry. The primary goal of LIBRA is to demonstrate robust T accountancy in blanket prototypical conditions. Here, T accountancy encompasses accurate predictions of T breeding in the FLiBe; detection and measurement of all T bred in LIBRA; and speciation of the T extracted from the FLiBe. Initial neutronics simulations of LIBRA indicate that a global TBR of 1 is possible, where the TBR is defined as the number of tritons bred and extracted from FLiBe relative to the number of neutrons produced by D-T fusion reactions in the neutron generator. In this paper, we present the LIBRA concept and its scientific goals in the context of T breeding experiments. We also consider the potential impact of the LIB on the future fusion power industry, motivating further development of FLiBe-based T breeding research activities such as LIBRA.