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Recovery and recycling of lithium value from spent lithium titanate (Li2TiO3) pebbles

Journal of Nuclear Materials
DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2013.04.028
  • Chemistry


Abstract In the first generation fusion reactors the fusion of deuterium (D) and tritium (T) is considered to produce energy to meet the future energy demand. Deuterium is available in nature whereas, tritium is not. Lithium-6 (Li6) isotope has the ability to produce tritium in the n, α nuclear reaction with neutrons. Thus lithium-based ceramics enriched by Li6 isotope are considered for the tritium generation for its use in future fusion reactors. Lithium titanate is one such Li-based ceramic material being considered for its some attractive properties viz., high thermal and chemical stability, high thermal conductivity, and low tritium solubility. It is reported in the literature, that the burn up of these pebbles in the fusion reactor will be limited to only 15–17 atomic percentage. At the end of life, the pebbles will contain more than 45% unused Li6 isotope. Due to the high cost of enriched Li6 and the waste disposal considerations, it is necessary to recover the unused Li from the spent lithium titanate pebbles. Till date, only the feasibilities of different processes are reported, but no process details are available. Experiments were carried out for the recovery of Li from simulated Li2TiO3 pebbles and to reuse of lithium in lithium titanate pebble fabrication. The details of the experiments and results are discussed in this paper.

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