But here's the challenge. While deuterium can be easily extracted from seawater, which contains 33 milligrams per cubic metre, tritium is much harder to source.
Whereas ''ordinary'' hydrogen (H) contains one proton, its isotope 3H (tritium) contains one proton and two neutrons. Tritium is a radioactive element with a half-life of 12.3 years and low-energy beta decay. Its radioactivity is so low that it can be stopped by skin or a simple piece of paper. Tritium only presents a health hazard if it is ingested or inhaled after combining with other elements (tritiated water, for example). Tritium management at ITER will be the object of strict regulation and procedures.
Although the results of the tritium breeding experiments will be open to all Members, each provider will keep manufacturing details a secret due to the high commercial stakes linked to tritium production.
ITER will provide a unique opportunity to test experimental breeding blankets, called Test Blanket Modules, in a real fusion environment.