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ENEA - Fusion division

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Advanced materials

Intense neutron source – International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF)

This facility is a deuterium-lithium neutron source that generates an intense high-energy neutron flux (up to 2 MW/m2). It will be used to test the materials proposed for use in future fusion reactors, up to a damage dose of 200 dpa.
To produce this intense flux, a system of accelerators provides a beam of deuterons with an energy of 40 MeV and a current of 250 mA, which hits a liquid-lithium jet flowing at 15-20 m/s.
The work carried out by ENEA’s Technical-Scientific Unit concerns:

The stability of the liquid-lithium jet is studied by means of numerical simulations and experiments using a water jet to simulate the lithium jet in the same thermal-hydraulic conditions. The work on corrosion entails determining its extent and studying different systems to monitor and remove impurities present in liquid lithium. Remote maintenance mainly involves periodic substitution of the back wall as the neutron flux hits it straight on.
Safety analyses are carried out to evaluate the risk of accidents to the plant as well as its reliability by considering accident sequences for each component (accelerators, lithium loop, etc.) of the neutron source. Also included are studies on the amount of occupational dose to plant personnel and on the radiation shielding in certain areas (test room).

Plan of maintenance of lithium targetPlan of maintenance of lithium target Detail of back-plate modelDetail of back-plate model


References and Publications