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Latest ITER Newsline

  • Cryolines | Another day, another spool

    Having wedged his body and equipment into the cramped space between the ceiling and the massive pipe, a worker is busy welding two cryolines spools. A few metre [...]

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  • Image of the week | Bearings unveiled

    The construction teams are in the last stages of preparing the Tokamak pit for the first major operation of ITER machine assembly: the lowering of the cryostat [...]

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  • Technology | Perfecting tritium breeding for DEMO and beyond

    While ITER will never breed tritium for its own consumption, it will test breeding blanket concepts—the tools and techniques that designers of future DEMO react [...]

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  • Fusion world | Japan and Europe complete the assembly of JT-60SA

    The JT-60SA fusion experiment in Naka, Japan, is designed to explore advanced plasma physics in support of the operation of ITER and next-phase devices. After s [...]

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  • Manufacturing | Thermal shield milestone in Korea

    Six years after the start of fabrication, Korean contractor SFA has completed the last 40° sector of vacuum vessel thermal shield. The stainless steel panels, c [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Planning for Test Blankets Modules radwaste

Tritium can be produced through the impact of fusion-generated neutrons on lithium nuclides present in the plasma-facing components. Based on this principle, six experimental Test Blanket Modules will be installed at the equatorial ports of the ITER vacuum vessel wall. (Click to view larger version...)
Tritium can be produced through the impact of fusion-generated neutrons on lithium nuclides present in the plasma-facing components. Based on this principle, six experimental Test Blanket Modules will be installed at the equatorial ports of the ITER vacuum vessel wall.
Self-sustained tritium production is essential to the future of fusion. While an experimental machine such as ITER will draw upon the tritium presently available in the market (a couple dozen kilos), future fusion plants will have to breed their own tritium supply in a continuous manner.

Tritium, which occurs only in trace quantities in nature, can be produced through the impact of fusion-generated neutrons on lithium nuclides present in the plasma-facing components. Based on this principle, six experimental Test Blanket Modules (TBM) will be installed at the equatorial ports of the ITER vacuum vessel wall. Two of them will be procured by Europe; India, China, Japan and Korea will each contribute one. The Russian Federation and the Unites States will give support on specific technical items.

Over the years, as they are impacted by the neutron flux, the ITER TBMs will progressively become activated. "However different each TBM concept may be, we can reasonably anticipate the amount of radwaste that will be produced within the Tritium Breeding Systems (TBSs) and that we will have to manage," explains Magali Benchikhoune, the ITER Hot Cells & Radwaste Section leader and chair of the Test Blanket Program Working Group on TBS RadWaste Management (TBP-WG-RWM) that has been assigned to deal with this matter.

Following three and a half months of videoconference meetings, the international players of the TBP-WG-RWM met for two days—and for the first time in person—last week at ITER.

The group comprised the ITER Members' Test Blanket Module representatives; ITER Organization representatives for the TBM Program, radwaste management and safety; legal experts from all the contributing Members; and representatives from Agence Iter France (as the interface between ITER and the Host country, France).

Following three and a half months of videoconference meetings, the international players of the Test Blanket Program Working Group on TBS RadWaste Management met for two days—and for the first time in person—last week at ITER. (Click to view larger version...)
Following three and a half months of videoconference meetings, the international players of the Test Blanket Program Working Group on TBS RadWaste Management met for two days—and for the first time in person—last week at ITER.
Once the breeding experiments are completed, the activated TBMs will go back for further analysis to the ITER Member who procured them. The rest (and the largest part) of each system will go into interim storage and, eventually, to a permanent disposal facility managed by the French Nuclear Waste Management Agency ANDRA.

How to approach this issue? What are the realistic options to manage and transport the irradiated components? What are the cost drivers? What can be optimized? These questions were central to the meeting that summarized and developed the work accomplished since the Working Group kick-off meeting on 19 July. "Whether from ITER, Agence Iter France, CEA or the ITER Members," says Magali, "we all worked hard and the two-day meeting was a very motivating experience for all of us."

The progress of the work by this Working Group will be reported to the TBM Program Committee, which heads all TBM-related activities, during its meeting in early November.
- R.A.


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