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Latest ITER Newsline

  • Without minimizing challenges, Council reaffirms commitment

    On 24 October 2007, the ITER Organization was officially established following the ratification by the seven ITER Members of the project's constitutive document [...]

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  • Heat waves

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  • What a difference ten days make

    There was a time when progress in Tokamak Complex construction was easy to follow.Excavation in 2010; the creation of the ground support structure and seismic f [...]

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  • What's in the box?

    At ITER, even the opening of a box takes on a spectacular dimension. The operation requires a powerful crane, a full team of specialists and, as everything ITER [...]

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  • EU Commission has "positive appreciation" of ITER progress

    On 14 June, the European Commission issued a Communication presenting the revised schedule and budget estimates for European participation in ITER. Its object? [...]

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Of Interest

See archived articles

How to store the fusion fuel

-David Babineau, Tritium Plant Section Leader

 (Click to view larger version...)
A two-day bilateral meeting between representatives of ITER's Fuel Cycle Division and ITER Korea was held in Daejeon, Korea this week to review the requirements to design the storage and delivery system within the Tritium Plant and fuel cycle. The main purpose of this meeting was to compare the merits and demerits of zirconium cobalt (ZrCo) as the hydride material to those of depleted uranium.

Hydrides are materials—metals in this case—that have the capability of chemically absorbing hydrogen (and its isotopes deuterium and tritium) into their metal lattice structure, thereby acting as a very effective pump at room temperature. Metal hydrides typically store hydrogen at densities higher than in liquid hydrogen. In order to recover the hydrogen (or the deuterium tritium fuel) these metal hydrides must be heated, making them a very safe way to store and deliver tritium and therefore will be used for storage instead of tanks which store hydrogen as a gas.

Since the beginning of the engineering activities for ITER in the 1990s the question of the most suitable metal hydride material is controversially discussed among the experts. During the bilateral meeting, the Korean and ITER teams discussed the pro's and con's for the two candidate materials, weighting criteria such as complexity of the components and system design, schedule, costs and additional need for R&D, giving highest priority to safety aspects.

The meeting concluded with a unanimous preference for depleted uranium. Now it is time to come to a decision about the material that should be used as hydride in ITER.


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