September 24, 2023
Heavy Industry in Petaluma

MHI Supports Japan’s Fusion Research with State-of-the-Art Testing Equipment for ITER-TBM Project

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is actively contributing to the development of Japan’s Test Blanket Module (TBM) for the ITER-TBM project, which aims to test blanket systems in an actual reactor environment at ITER in France. MHI has delivered four advanced testing systems to the Rokkasho Fusion Institute, part of Japan’s National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology (QST), located in Aomori Prefecture.

The testing equipment supplied by MHI includes the High Heat Flux Test Equipment, the In Box Water Eruption Test Equipment, the Be-Water Reaction Test Equipment, and the Flow Assisted Corrosion Test Loop. These systems will play a crucial role in conducting various experiments to develop a safe and efficient blanket system for the ITER-TBM project.

The blanket system is responsible for extracting heat generated by the fusion reactor and facilitating the breeding and self-sustainment of tritium, the fuel used in the fusion process. Neutron irradiation of a lithium compound in the blanket helps produce and supplement tritium consumed during the reaction.

The ITER-TBM project involves the functional demonstration testing of different TBM systems developed independently by seven participating parties, including Japan, the EU, the USA, Russia, South Korea, China, and India. As the domestic agency for the ITER Project, QST leads Japan’s efforts in developing its blanket system.

MHI, having previously received contracts from QST for manufacturing core components for ITER, such as toroidal field coils and divertor outer vertical targets, expressed its strong commitment to supporting the development of the ITER-TBM project. The company aims to provide additional systems and components, including TBMs, to contribute further to the advancement of the blanket system.

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ITER itself is a significant international endeavor to construct a tokamak fusion device and demonstrate the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale, carbon-free energy source. With the goal of achieving 500 MW of power output for at least 400 seconds, ITER requires extensive plasma heating power input. First plasma is scheduled for 2025, followed by deuterium-tritium fusion experiments in 2035. The European Union covers nearly half of the construction costs, while the remaining six members contribute equally to the rest.