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Fuelling technology for the commercial fusion reactors of the future.

H3AT will be a world-first tritium research centre. It will research how to process, store and recycle tritium, one of the fuels that will supply fusion power stations.

H3AT control room

The H3AT facility will provide academic and industrial users with comprehensive tritium test systems and training facilities, with technical support provided by UKAEA experts.

It will draw on UKAEA’s expertise from operating JET – the only fusion experiment currently equipped to use tritium fuel.

Interim H3AT test rigs are already set up at Culham Science Centre, with the full H3AT complex expected to open in 2020/1.

The tritium challenge

In a fusion reactor, tritium and deuterium – two isotopes of hydrogen – will be combined in a hot plasma to produce energetic neutrons which can be turned into electricity.

Because tritium is a radioactive isotope with a half-life (time for half of it to decay) of around 12 years, natural reserves are scarce. However, it can be bred from lithium within a fusion reactor. Fusion power plants will need to have tritium breeding facilities built into their design, to ensure a surplus of the fuel is maintained at all times.

Developing techniques for safely managing and producing tritium is an essential step in the path to making fusion a commercial energy source.

H3AT capabilities

  • Advanced tritium infrastructure to feed, recover, store and recycle tritium
  • Flexible suite of enclosures enabling a wide variety of experimental work:
    • pure tritium science
    • process development
    • component testing
    • waste detritiation
  • Computational simulations and model validation
  • Training facilities
  • Materials detritiation processes and facilities

Contact details

To find out more about H3AT and enquire about using the facility, please contact info@h3at.ukaea.uk.

Further information

Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology brochure

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