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EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation of the production of tritium from a lithium blanket in a fusion reactor. The lithium blanket is a design feature in a deuterium-tritium fusion reactor, in which the neutrons (yellow) produced by the fusion reaction are absorbed by a lithium nucleus, in this case lithium-7, which then splits into a helium-4 nucleus, tritium (hydrogen-3) and a neutron. This is an advantageous way of producing tritium, which is scarce and difficult to transport. In the lithium blanket, the lithium is enriched in the lithium-6 isotope, which has the added advantage of absorbing a neutron. See clip K004 6963 for this reaction with lithium-6.
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