Abstract A fusion–fission hybrid reactor is proposed to achieve the energy gain of 3000 MW thermal power with self-sustaining tritium. The hybrid reactor is designed based on the plasma conditions and configurations of ITER, as well as the well-developed pressurized light water cooling technologies. For the sake of safety, the pressure tube bundles are employed to protect the first wall from the high pressure of coolant. The spent nuclear fuel discharged from 33GWD/tU Light Water Reactors (LWRs) and natural uranium oxide are taken as driver fuel for energy multiplication. According to thermo-mechanics calculation results, the first wall of 20 mm is safe. The radiation damage analysis indicates that the first wall has a lifetime of more than five years. Neutronics calculations show that the proposed hybrid reactor has high energy multiplication factor, tritium breeding ratio and power density; the fuel cannot reach the level of plutonium required for a nuclear weapon. Thermal-hydraulic analysis indicates that the temperatures of the fuel zone are well below the limited values and a large safety margin is provided.