Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:

Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • WEST | Revamped tokamak completes 1st phase of operation

    One day, in the latter half of this decade, it will be routine at ITER: dozens of operators, with eyes riveted to their individual monitors as numbers, graphs a [...]

    Read more

  • Roof modules | Patience, precision and a crane's long arm

    In the spring of 2020 a new and strategic phase of ITER construction will begin: the assembly of the ITER Tokamak. In order to deliver machine components to the [...]

    Read more

  • Image of the week | "Bringing light and hope"

    Most international organizations are headquartered in large cities—the UN in New York, UNESCO and the International Energy Agency in Paris, the IAEA in Vienna, [...]

    Read more

  • Outreach in China | A week devoted to fusion

    A new biennial event in China seeks to create a comprehensive exchange platform for the scientists, engineers and industries that are driving the country's stro [...]

    Read more

  • Monaco-ITER Fellows | New campaign announced

    The seventh recruitment campaign for the Monaco-ITER postdoctoral fellowship program opens on 13 January. Since 2008, thirty postdocs have carried out origin [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived entries

T time for JET

Nick Holloway, Culham Center for Fusion Energy

The project management team from left to right: Ben O'Meara (Project Lead Engineer), Robyn Davies (Technical Clerk), Tim Jones (Project Sponsor), Alex Rowley (Requirements/Systems Engineer) and Robert Warren (Project Manager). (Click to view larger version...)
The project management team from left to right: Ben O'Meara (Project Lead Engineer), Robyn Davies (Technical Clerk), Tim Jones (Project Sponsor), Alex Rowley (Requirements/Systems Engineer) and Robert Warren (Project Manager).
Engineers at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) have begun to prepare Europe's flagship fusion experiment JET for a new set of full-power fusion experiments using tritium fuel.

The tests, currently scheduled for 2017-18, will be the first with tritium since 2003 and will act as an important "dress rehearsal" in preparation for ITER's operation with tritium.

To generate large amounts of power in commercial tokamak reactors, a combination of two heavy hydrogen nuclei—deuterium (D) and tritium (T)—will be required to fuel the fusion furnace. However, supplies of tritium are scarce and its radioactivity makes it impractical for use in most fusion research labs. For fusion power stations neither issue should be a problem; a lithium "blanket" around the tokamak will react with the fusion neutrons to produce tritium fuel within the device itself, and remote-controlled maintenance systems will ensure safe handling of material exposed to tritium and fusion neutrons. (JET has been at the forefront of the development and highly successful implementation of remote handling technology.)

Today though, to avoid the complications of tritium, the vast majority of fusion research is conducted with deuterium fuel only. This provides very accurate results that can be scaled up to predict the performance of future DT reactors. But for the best simulation of how ITER will operate with DT, there is nothing like the real thing—a series of fusion tests with both fuels.

That's where JET comes in. As the world's largest operating tokamak and the only such device capable of storing, using, recovering and recycling tritium, it has a unique role in fusion research. And upgrades since the 2003 tritium campaign—particularly the ITER-like inner wall of beryllium and tungsten—have effectively turned JET into a "mini-ITER"; as close as any present-day device can get to its operating conditions.

Another series of DT experiments on JET will therefore provide scientific information to help make ITER a success, as well as give physicists and engineers vital experience of running fusion machines with tritium.

Read the full story on the CCFE website. 


return to the latest published articles