Canada nuclear project with General Fusion
Teams up with national nuclear lab for limitless tritium fuel Metal Tech News – July 28, 2021
Last updated 7/27/2021 at 4:33pm
Canada-based nuclear energy producer, General Fusion Inc., July 27 announced a partnership with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to advance fusion reactor technology through the use of tritium extraction techniques in commercial power plants in a novel fusion power concept reactor.
Using the conventional fusion process, General Fusion will develop a nonconventional reactor that is a practical and economical approach to power through magnetized target fusion (MTF) – a fusion power concept that combines magnetic and inertial confinement fusion.
"Our global research partners play an important role in helping General Fusion advance its MTF technology for commercialization," said General Fusion Chief Technology Officer Ryan Guerrero. "This collaboration with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories will further refine this technology for application in commercial power plants."
Fueled by the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium, MTF functions by compressing the fuel in a controlled magnetic zone while eventually heating into a plasma. In fusion, these isotopes heat to more than 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit), fuse, and create neutrons. The neutrons interact with the liquid metal liner of the fusion vessel, which in turn generates more tritium.
Together, the organizations will identify the most promising approaches for managing tritium in fusion energy systems – specifically, the process of extracting tritium from liquid metal to provide a limitless supply of tritium fuel.
"We are taking our decades of expertise in tritium handling, separation and storage and applying it to resolve technical problems in this area in fusion," said Dr. Ian Castillo, head of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories' Hydrogen and Tritium Technology directorate. "This is an exciting project, and we are pleased to make a contribution to the advancement of Canadian fusion technology."
The work is being done through the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative – a program that facilitates access to CNR's world-class facilities for industrial partners in Canada and around the world.
CNR will help General Fusion develop various technologies to extract tritium for use in fusion power plants with its C$40 million state-of-the-art tritium facility capable of handling the materials required to conduct full-scale tests of tritium extraction technology.
To confirm the performance and economics of its MTF technology at a power plant-relevant scale, General Fusion is preparing to build a fusion demonstration plant, which is scheduled to be operational in 2025.