Chinese scientists have successfully created and tested a key component module for fusion reactors, using 3D printing.
Scientists from the Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology (INEST) have applied 3D printing technology in creating the first wall of test blanket module, one of the key components for a fusion reactor. The dimensional precision of the component meets the design requirements. Their research was published in the Journal of Nuclear Materials in March.
The key component was created with China Low Activation Martensitic (CLAM) steel, a China-developed neutron irradiation resistant steel that is mainly used for fusion reactor and advanced fission reactor. INEST has long been leading research and development in CLAM steel.
According to their research, there are many technical problems when using CLAM steel to make the complex components for fusion reactors. With 3D printing technology, the integrated formation of complex structure can be performed and a short manufacturing cycle and high utilization ratio of materials can be realized.
The research shows that 3D printing technology can be applied to manufacturing complex components in nuclear energy system and China has demonstrated strong research and development capability in this aspect, according to INEST.