Brush Wellman JETs in beryllium

Brush Wellman has received a $7.0 million order to provide beryllium metal for the Joint European Torus, the largest experimental nuclear fusion reactor in the world.


Brush Wellman’s Beryllium Products business unit has received a $7.0 million order to provide beryllium metal for the Joint European Torus (JET), the largest experimental nuclear fusion reactor in the world. JET is located in Culham in the UK.



The order, which calls for delivery of 4.4 tonnes of beryllium beginning late in the third quarter of 2006 and expected to be completed in the first half of 2007, came from the European Fusion Development Agreement, the agency that provides funding to JET. The beryllium will be used for inner wall plasma facing components that will line the inside of the reactor as part of a major recommissioning project to prepare JET for fusion reaction testing. An earlier generation of beryllium replacement tiles, also from Brush Wellman materials, serviced the reactor beginning in the late 1980’s.



JET produces a 100,000,000°C reaction by fusing deuterium and tritium in an intense magnetic field. The reactor is a precursor for a planned larger, even more sophisticated facility called ITER, which is scheduled to be built in France. It is hoped that ITER will provide critical data to support the technological feasibility of a full-scale fusion power plant in 30 to 50 years.



Fusion is considered a practical source of future power needs due to its low production of nuclear waste and high amount of energy produced. Since no actual combustion occurs during the reaction, fusion will not produce air pollution. Also, deuterium, one of the fuel sources, can be extracted from seawater, while tritium can be produced in the fusion reactor itself from lithium, which is found in the earth’s crust.