Nuclear Science:

The Feasibility of Using a Particle Accelerator to Produce Tritium

RCED-90-73BR: Published: Feb 2, 1990. Publicly Released: Feb 20, 1990.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the feasibility of the Department of Energy (DOE) producing tritium, a critical material for nuclear weapons, using a linear accelerator, rather than a nuclear reactor, focusing on: (1) whether DOE adequately considered particle accelerator technologies during its examination of tritium production options; and (2) the cost, safety, and environmental advantages of accelerator production over nuclear reactor production of tritium.

GAO found that: (1) although accelerator production of tritium appeared feasible, DOE needed to design an accelerator with the operating characteristics necessary for tritium production; (2) although DOE concluded that alternative technologies could not provide new tritium production capacity within the needed time frame, it was reviewing the accelerator in more detail; (3) accelerator production of tritium would present fewer safety and environmental concerns, could have more cost and schedule advantages, and could be sized to meet specific tritium needs; and (4) because of the amount of electricity required to produce tritium with an accelerator, DOE could need a new electric generating plant, which could cause environmental consequences associated with fossil fuel or nuclear power generation.

Mar 14, 2018

Feb 28, 2018

Feb 16, 2018

Feb 6, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Dec 7, 2017

Nov 14, 2017

Nov 1, 2017

Oct 26, 2017

Sep 8, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here