The use of pure beryllium and lithium poses technical challenges and even safety risks. At high temperatures, a violent reaction between beryllium and water generates hydrogen gas which can then ignite uncontrollably. Various countries are therefore exploring methods of beryllium passivation using alloys, especially when the projects involve cooling with water. Pure beryllium also swells significantly when irradiated; a problem that can also be solved using beryllium alloys, as confirmed by the analysis of KIT’s long-term HIDOBE irradiation tests (2004-2014).
It is high time to establish partnerships with industry in order to accelerate progress in this area; unfortunately the technology is too specialized to create incentives through spin-offs. To address this challenge, KBHF – together with partners KIT and MATERION (global leader in beryllium products, USA) – has hosted the BeYOND industry forum since 2009. BeYOND brings together industry representatives, researchers, policy experts and investors to promote the commercialization of a technology that could help realize an important project for humanity.