Fusion Fuel Cycles Partnership Formed

May 29, 2024

Japan's Kyoto Fusioneering, a fusion startup spun out from Kyoto University, and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories have announced the formation of Fusion Fuel Cycles Inc., headquartered in Chalk River, Ontario, Canada. The joint venture extends a strategic alliance formed between the two entities in September 2023 and aims to develop and deploy deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion fuel cycle technologies.

FFC will merge CNL's tritium processing and handling capabilities with KF's fusion fuel cycle plant expertise and technology to engineer and deliver large-scale fuel cycle systems for global fusion development programs. According to the organizations, FFC's mission is to accelerate the deployment of fully integrated D-T fuel cycle systems that meet the highest safety and performance standards.

UNITY-2: FFC will begin work on UNITY-2, a fuel cycle test facility located at CNL's Chalk River Laboratories. Slated to begin operations by mid-2026, UNITY-2 will serve as a versatile and open platform for fusion innovators worldwide to advance science and close technology gaps related to tritium processing systems.

The facility is expected to address key risks in a fusion power plant's tritium processing plant by developing and demonstrating critical enabling technologies. Specifically, it will support the study and demonstration of tritium inventory minimization and processing efficiency; tritium emission minimization and material compatibility; process modeling, controls, and simulation; fuel supply; tritium accountancy and diagnostics; safe tritium operations; and waste minimization. It will do so in a manner that applies to a broad range of fusion confinement concepts.

According to KF and CNL, the data and insights garnered from UNITY-2 operations will be useful to regulatory bodies in licensing D-T fusion devices. The organizations added that the facility represents a significant step forward, setting the stage for subsequent facilities that will support experimental and power plant-scale fusion machines worldwide.

They said it: "Establishing Fusion Fuel Cycles Inc. marks a significant milestone in fusion energy development, combining KF's technological prowess and CNL's extensive experience with tritium handling to revolutionize the fusion industry," said Jack Craig Jr., chief executive officer of CNL.

Satoshi Konishi, CEO of KF, added, "Through FFC, we are not just accelerating the development of crucial fuel cycle technologies but also providing comprehensive solutions that will shape the future of fusion energy. This facility - UNITY-2 - is just the beginning, as we aim to design and implement similar systems globally."

More info: Accompanying the announcement was a presentation on the new FFC joint venture, which can be found here.