Russia’s Troitsk Institute of Innovative and Thermonuclear Research (Triniti - part of Rosatom’s scientific division) said on 5 October that, together with Krasnaya Zvezda (a Rosatom enterprise specialising in space propulsion systems), it had for the first time carried out external refuelling of the T-11M tokamak with liquid lithium in a continuous operating cycle.
In the course of joint tests, the engineers of Triniti’s physics department of tokamak reactors and Krasnaya Zvezda specialists managed to carry out external refuelling of the emitter system of the T-11M tokamak with lithium without violating the vacuum conditions in its working chamber.
For several years Triniti has been developing and testing advanced designs and technologies of the first wall and divertor for fusion reactors, including liquid metal. The goal is to weaken the destructive effect of hot plasma on the in-chamber elements, thereby increasing their service life.
“The implementation of a system for filling the emitter with lithium without removing it from the vacuum chamber opens up opportunities for lithium protection of the first wall of the tokamak in a quasi-stationary mode. The new technology will find its application, first of all, on the T-15MD tokamak recently created at the Kurchatov Institute National Research Center and will further bring scientists closer to successful experiments in generating clean and safe energy," said Triniti director Dmitry Markov.
The work was carried out as part of the federal project "Thermonuclear and Plasma Technologies" within the Comprehensive Programme "Development of equipment, technologies and research in the field of atomic energy use in the Russian Federation for the period up to 2024".
Lithium protection of the first wall of the working chamber of a tokamak-reactor from the aggressive action of hot thermonuclear plasma by re-radiation of the heat flux has been proven in the course of research on controlled thermonuclear fusion over the past 25 years. It is used at the TFTR (USA) and EAST (China) tokamaks and has supported record results at those facilities. Further modifications of this technology are expected to be used in quasi-stationary thermonuclear neutron sources.
Photo: Russian scientists have achieved a fusion milestone (Credit: Triniti)