Water tanks to quench ITER’s thirst

Four more water detritiation tanks have been delivered to ITER as part of its fuel cycle system. The components were the result of a contract signed between F4E and Equipos Nucleares S.A., S.M.E to design, manufacture and deliver them to Cadarche. The works for their manufacture lasted approximately two years.

Two tanks known as “storage tanks”, with capacity of 7 m3, will be used to store water. Two additional tanks known as “feed tanks”, with capacity of 12 m3, will be used to feed the fuel cycle system with tritiated water. The four tanks will be installed next to the six water detritiation tanks, also manufactured by Ensa in 2015, being the first components in Europe delivered to ITER. The largest fusion device will have ten of these tanks in total to meet the needs of its fuel cycle.

Why do we need a water detritiation system at the ITER Tritium plant? This system is needed to recover the fuel to use it again in order to trigger a new fusion reaction. It works as follows: first, the two isotopes of hydrogen are supplied to the machine through the Tritium plant; second, when the two isotopes reach the core of the machine, they are heated to extremely high temperatures to fuse and release energy; finally, the remaining fuel from the fusion reaction, along with other gases, is pumped back to the ITER Tritium plant to recover the tritium and use it in a future reaction.

For Sofia Corino, Special Projects Manager for Ensa in the Business Development Division: “Ensa, in cooperation with its subsidiary, ENWESA, has been responsible for the design and manufacture of the four additional water detritiation tanks that will form part of ITER’s fuel cycle system. Ensa’s experience and commitment to innovation have been decisive in consolidating it as one of the leading European component manufacturers for the largest fusion energy project”.