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Lithium Ceramics for Thermonuclear Reactor


High Li-burnup Irradiation Tests of Ceramic Tritium Breeder

Tech Area / Field

  • FUS-OTH/Other/Fusion

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Rudneva V Ya

Leading Institute
National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakstan, Kazakstan, Kurchatov

Supporting institutes

  • National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakstan / Institute of Atomic Energy (2), Kazakstan, Kurchatov\nScience Technical Center of Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion Association (CTF), Kazakstan, Almaty\nNational Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakstan / Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kazakstan, Almaty


  • JAERI / Blanket Irradiation and Analysis Laboratory, Japan, Ibaraki

Project summary

The creation of Demo thermonuclear reactors (TNR) with a tritium-reproducing ceramic blanket implies the satisfaction of a number of strict requirements: a material should possess high stability against radiation, it should have the capability to release tritium in a required amount and it should be compatible with other structural materials of TNR. Li2TiO3 lithium ceramics, enriched by the 6Li isotope, is considered to be the most suitable candidate for the blanket material. Two nuclear reactions occur at 6Li: the reaction of capture, following the scheme 6Li+n →T+4He, resulting in tritium production, and the reaction of synthesis: 6Li+T8→Be+n, resulting in0 isotope burn-up. The lithium burn-up extent, of interest to materials scientists, comprises 15 to 20%.
The goal of the project is to implement in-pile trials of lithium ceramics, where the burn-up in 6Li will reach ~20% and produced tritium will be recorded in situ at various temperatures, and to implement Post Irradiated Exams of irradiated samples, including investigation of their physical, chemical, mechanical properties and gas release.

The in-pile trials of the lithium ceramics samples will be executed at the WWR-K research thermal reactor, in two irradiation channels disposed in the center of the reactor core. The reactor thermal power rate comprises 6MW. The undisturbed density of thermal neutron flux in these channels reaches ~1.2*1014cm-2*s-1. (The neutron flux density directly in an ampoule with irradiated samples will be determined in modeling experiments at the zero-power reactor). According to preliminary computational estimates, the required duration of reactor operation at the power rate level, required for reaching burn-up ~20% in 6Li, comprises ~200 days.

The expected scope of activities on the Project is as follows:
– Creation of required conditions for sample irradiation;
Implementation of in-pile experiments and provision of proper quality;
– Post-reactor studies of irradiated samples and development of a mathematical model for degradation of material properties and gas release.
Preliminary neutron physics and thermal physics studies to substantiate the proper selection of ampoule design, experiments at the zero-power reactor and implementation of thermal trials of the ampoule physical mockups, for final treatment of the ampoule design, long-term in-pile trials with control of irradiation parameters, subsequent ampoule treatment (cutting, etc.) and preparation of samples for studies will all be performed.
Specialists of the countries-participants of the TNR International Project are interested in the project outcomes.


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