Canada’s National Atomic Energy Laboratory Collaborates on First Light’s New Research Project to Design an Innovative Tritium Extraction System for Fusion Reactors
CHALK RIVER, ON, Nov. 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Canada’s leading nuclear science and technology organization, the Canadian Nuclear Laboratory (CNL), has entered into a cooperation agreement with leading company First Light Fusion I am happy to announce that A UK-based clean energy company pursuing an innovative new form of fusion power. Funded through CNL’s Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI), the scope of the project includes the preliminary design of a system capable of extracting tritium from First Light reactors and the development of tritium processing and storage options.
Unlike conventional nuclear reactors, which generate heat through nuclear fission (the splitting of atoms), fusion reactors produce electricity from the heat released when two atoms fuse. Today, there is growing optimism that nuclear fusion could become a new source of carbon-free electricity for the world. One of the key features of the design of deuterium-tritium-fueled fusion power plants is the ability to intentionally produce tritium in the reactor and use it as reactor fuel. CNL’s primary specialization.
“CNL is thrilled to join this project with First Light Fusion, a company that shares our ambition and commitment to pursuing the next generation of clean energy technologies,” said CNL’s vice president of science and technology. commented Dr. Jeff Griffin, “The successful deployment of fusion has the potential to serve as an innovative clean energy solution in the fight against climate change. We will leverage our expertise in tritium-related research in combination with a dedicated, state-of-the-art tritium facility to support First Light in
Dr. Nick Hawker, co-founder and CEO of First Light Fusion, a leading UK fusion energy company, said: “Our first-light commercial power plant, based on our unique projectile approach, avoids some of the biggest engineering barriers of other fusion approaches, including the production of tritium. Enabling self-sufficiency, CNL will support us in the initial design of a system that can extract tritium Ultimately, the need for fusion is so urgent that we can solve it with the simplest machine possible. I am working to.”
This plant design avoids fusion’s three biggest engineering challenges: preventing neutron damage, producing tritium, and managing extreme heat fluxes. Lithium is used to make tritium, his one of two fusion fuels. Our design enables tritium self-sufficiency with pure lithium in natural isotope balance. This is a huge advantage as the only by-product is helium and there is an established supply chain for regular lithium.
In April 2022, First Light announced that it had achieved nuclear fusion in November 2021. This is the world’s first achievement using a unique target and corresponding projectile technology.
The partnership with First Light is CNRI’s third project, leveraging CNL’s expertise in separating tritium and hydrogen isotopes into advanced nuclear technology, building on CNL’s momentum in this emerging clean energy sector domestically. It shows that it is growing outside. Among his CNL responsibilities on the project include selecting two major tritium extraction candidate technologies for which system size and tritium inventory calculations and safety and technical risk assessments will be performed. The tritium extraction system represents an important part of tritium control in the fusion fuel cycle and is a key element in recovering tritium and limiting tritium permeation into the coolant. This is of fundamental importance for reactor licensing and safety, demonstrating the self-sufficiency of fusion reactors in terms of tritium production and consumption. CNL will also prepare recommendations for future laboratory work that may lead to the manufacture of test equipment used to validate the system in a laboratory environment.
Ian Castillo, Director of Hydrogen and Tritium Technology at CNL, said: “With the growing momentum and interest in fusion as a carbon-free power source, we are increasingly leveraging these capabilities to advance fusion reactor design and technology toward deployment. is the purpose of this project for First Light Fusion and we look forward to being a part of it.”
Launched in 2019, the CNRI program connects reactor vendors to the facilities and expertise within Canada’s National Nuclear Research Institute. Among the many benefits of this program, participants will be able to optimize resources, share technical knowledge, and access CNL experts to advance the commercialization of AR technology. The project with First Light started in Phase 3 of his CNRI program, but CNL recently launched Phase 4. This has been expanded this year to accept applications from Canadian universities.
For more information on CNL, including the CNRI program, please visit www.cnl.ca.
As Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, CNL is a world leader in the development of innovative nuclear science and technology products and services. Guided by an ambitious corporate strategy known as Vision 2030, CNL will deliver on three strategic priorities of national importance: restoring and protecting the environment, advancing clean energy technologies, and contributing to Canadian health. doing.
Leveraging assets owned by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), CNL also serves as a link between government, the nuclear industry, the broader private sector, and academia. CNL works with these sectors to bring innovative Canadian products and services for real-world use, including carbon-free energy, cancer and other therapies, non-proliferation technologies, and waste management solutions. I am making progress.
For more information on CNL, please visit www.cnl.ca.
About First Light Fusion
First Light Fusion spun out of Oxford University in 2011 to address the urgent need to decarbonize the world’s energy system. First Light’s inertial confinement approach aims to create the extreme temperatures and pressures required for fusion by compressing the target using an ultravelocity projectile. Safe, clean and virtually limitless, First Light’s approach to fusion has the potential to transform the world’s energy system. Unlike existing nuclear power, there is no long-lived waste, no risk of meltdowns, and raw materials are found in abundance.
For more information on FLF, please visit https://firstlightfusion.com/.
Director, Corporate Communications