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Tritiated water (Q(2)O) is produced during fusion fuel purification or air detritiation. Before recovering the tritium by isotope separation, the Q(2)O needs to be reduced to form Q(2) gas. The reduction of tritiated water on iron is an alternative to electrolysis and gas-shift reactors. It allows a simple, compact configuration with low tritium inventory. The reactor design incorporates a palladium alloy permeator which extracts the Q(2). Tests on a commercial iron-based catalyst showed a high reactivity and no degradation with repeated cycling. The optimum temperature for water reduction was 375-395 C, and for iron regeneration using hydrogen, 470-495 C. The first prototype reactor-permeator decomposed 9.5 g of water in 8 hours using 210 g of iron. The time needed for iron regeneration was reduced to 16 hours by recirculating the hydrogen. A pilot-scale reactor permeator is now under development: it should be capable of reducing 35 kg of water per year, operating at 1 bar. Attention to the choice of structural materials will minimise tritium carryover into the water produced during regeneration.

Additional information

Authors: MODICA G, JRC Ispra (IT);EDWARDS R A H, JRC Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: Workshop on Physics and Technology of Tritium for Fusion Reactors, Varenna (IT), September 6-14, 1993
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 37784 ORA
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