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Helium 3 breeding in fusion reactors

  1. Aug 5, 2015 #1
    There are several fusion reaction which produce Helium 3 as ash

    1) D + D => T + p / He-3 + n

    2) p + Li-6 => He-4 + He-3

    3) p + D => He-3 + photons

    Assuming we can create and maintain these fusion reactors. Would it be possible to to collect the Helium3 from the fusion tractor. specifically can we separate them from the plasma somehow and maintain fusion?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2015 #2


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    Yeah. We constantly pump the chamber to maintain a near vacuum. Some fraction of the gas that is pumped out will be He-3. It won't be so easy to separate it from He-4, but perhaps it is possible with some kind of fractional distillation and centrifuging.
  4. Aug 6, 2015 #3
    But wouldn't that give the He-3 a lot of time to fuse with the remaining Atoms?
  5. Aug 6, 2015 #4


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    He-3 needs high temperatures or energies to fuse. At 50keV, DD fusion will occur much more frequently than D-He3, so you will have plenty of He3 in the ash.
    If you are interested in small quantities of pure He3, you can run the ions through some kind of mass spectrometer trap.
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