Po-containing molecules in fusion and fission reactors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Merlijn A.J. Mertens
  • Alexander Aerts
  • Ivan Infante
  • Jörg Neuhausen
  • Stefaan Cottenier

Institutes & Expert groups

  • IIT - Italian Institute of Technology - Nanochemistry department
  • VU - Free University of Amsterdam
  • UGent - Universiteit Gent
  • PSI - Paul Scherrer Institute

Documents & links


Fission and fusion reactors can only play a role in the future energy landscape if they are inherently safe by design. For some reactor concepts, a major remaining issue is the undesired production of radiotoxic 210Po. To filter out the volatile Po species, information on their molecular composition is needed. An experimental characterization is very challenging due to the large required amount of radioactive Po. An alternative quantum chemistry approach was taken to predict the temperature-dependent stability of relevant diatomic Po-containing molecules. Experimental data on lighter analogue molecules was used to establish a well-founded methodology. The relative occurrence of the Po species was estimated in the cover gas of (i) the lead-bismuth eutectic coolant in the accelerator-driven MYRRHA fission reactor and (ii) the Pb-Li eutectic tritium breeder in the DEMO fusion reactor. In both systems, Po is found to occur mainly as PbPo molecules and atomic Po.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2879-2884
Number of pages6
JournalThe journal of physical chemistry letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2019


  • polonium, MYRRHA, LBE, fusion, lead lithium eutectic

ID: 5247811