CHALK RIVER — Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and Kyoto Fusioneering Ltd. (KF), a leader in fusion power plant technology development, have announced a strategic alliance agreement (SAA). Building on the memorandum of understanding signed in March 2023, the SAA outlines how the organizations will work together to jointly explore opportunities to accelerate the development and commercialization of fusion fuel cycle technology, a critical-path system for fusion energy commercialization.
With a large majority of the world’s fusion power plant designs using tritium, demand for tritium handling and tritium-compatible technology is rapidly growing. Acknowledging the significance of managing the tritium fuel cycle for fusion commercialization, as emphasized by recent reports from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC), CNL and KF will:
- Innovate Tritium Fuel Cycle Technologies and Systems: Advancing the readiness level of the complete tritium fuel cycle with a focus on safety, public protection, and system economics.
- Support Fusion Developers in Design and Development of Pilot Plants: Proving comprehensive design, consulting, engineering, testing and technology to meet the needs of public and private fusion energy development programs globally.
- Support Tritium Handling and Management: Offering insights and solutions for efficient tritium behavior control and extraction in Fusion Pilot Plant devices.
“Both CNL and KF are conducting cutting edge work to advance fusion technology, with each organization having built technical strengths in select areas,” explains Dr. Jeff Griffin, vice-president, science and technology at CNL, “By working cooperatively, we can more effectively apply this knowledge and expertise, which will ultimately better serve the needs of the market.”
Dr. Satoshi Konishi, co-founder and chief fusioneer at KF, said fusion energy holds transformative potential for global energy.
“Our partnership with CNL merges KF’s fusion technology with CNL’s tritium management expertise, positioning us to tackle some of commercial fusion power’s most critical challenges,” Konishi says.
UNITY-2: The Fusion Test Loop at Chalk River
Central to this collaboration is UNITY-2, a fusion test loop proposed for construction at the Chalk River Laboratories. UNITY-2 is complementary to KF’s UNITY-1 (formerly “UNITY”) facility, announced last July. While UNITY-1 focuses on the thermal cycle system to harness heat from the fusion core, UNITY-2 focuses on demonstrating the complete fuel cycle.
Designed to emulate fusion power plant conditions, UNITY-2 will be a global first, integrating a full deuterium-tritium fuel cycle with the highest safety and tritium handling standards. It will demonstrate fuel exhaust and pumping, direct internal recycling, fuel clean-up and isotope separation, tritium management and storage, tritium extraction from liquid metal and molten salt coolants, air and water detritiation, and reactor fueling. This facility will bolster materials, systems, and equipment development and verification.
Learn more about the SAA here.