The UK Atomic Energy Authority has appointed Frazer-Nash to deliver a concept study for a lead-lithium flow loop cooling system for the design of the potential cooling blanket for the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme.
STEP aims to deliver a commercially viable prototype fusion reactor by 2040. The project will involve engineers and scientists from UKAEA as well as its supply chain, academia and other partners.
Frazer-Nash’s new build and fusion business manager, Steve Lawler, said: “Removing heat flux from the fusion reactor efficiently is key to producing a net energy gain. With a high boiling point temperature, tritium breeding capabilities and thermal properties, liquid lead-lithium is considered as a potential blanket coolant to deliver this heat removal by tokamak designers.”
He said the concept study would “play a key role" in developing the UK’s knowledge and experience of flowing lead-lithium for use in a tokamak.
Liquid lead-lithium has long been considered as a blanket coolant by multiple fusion organisations due to its high boiling point, tritium breeding capabilities and thermal properties.
UKAEA has awarded a front-end engineering design contract for a lead-lithium flow loop. The aims of the loop are to study the effects of a uniform magnetic field on flowing lead-lithium and measure corrosion of different materials and pipe geometries within a defined test section.
Photo: Illustration of STEP concept (CCFE)