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A step toward the production of fuel for nuclear fusion

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Masaru Nakamichi, leader of the Blanket Technology Group, Naka Fusion Institute, Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA, Ibaraki, Japan; www.naka.jaea.go.jp) has developed a new fabrication technology that enables the mass-production of beryllium intermetallic compounds (beryllides), which are advanced, efficient neutron multipliers that could be used for nuclear fusion reactors. JEAE is said to be the first to fabricate beryllides with 1-mm dia., and it expects the newly developed technology to be a big step toward establishing fuel-production technology for the nuclear-fusion demonstration (DEMO) reactor. At temperatures higher than 600°C, JAEA has found that the beryllide Be12Ti expands by only 3% compared to 50% expansion by Be itself. Also, hydrogen generation from the reaction of steam at high temperatures — a potential hazard in fusion reactors — is 1,000 times higher with Be compared to Be12Ti. JAEA has optimized the fabrication method at the DEMO Design and R&D Coordination Center of International Fusion Energy Reactor Center (IFERC; Aomori; www.naka.jaea.go.jp), where it has produced ductile and easy-worked beryllides rod, using beryllides raw powders with surfaces cleaned by a plasma sintering method. In the…
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