STEP encapsulated Breeding Blanket
The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Agency (UKAEA) Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) is an innovative plan for a commercially-viable fusion power station. A conceptual design of the reactor is foreseen to be completed by 2024.
Within this ambitious programme, one of the key components to be developed is the Breeding Blanket (BB), which provides shielding from plasma fusion neutrons, extracts heat for power generation and breeds tritium (T) to achieve the self-sufficiency principle.
IDOM developed for the UKAEA a pre-conceptual design of a possible BB for STEP focusing on the mentioned blanket functions and especially on the manufacturability using available techniques and existing materials, seeking a balance between high performance and reduced cost.
The proposed concept is based on encapsulating the breeding material into hollow spheres forming a gas cooled packed bed. The cooling gas will extract from the pebbles and remove from the blanket the tritium generated in the breeding material. A frontal multiplier as well as a back reflector have also been studied to maximize the tritium generation.
The resulting concept was filed in a patent application.