Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 49 / Number 1 / January 2006 / Pages 62-73
The issue of radioactive waste management presents a top challenge for the nuclear industry. As an alternative to recycling or disposal in repositories, many countries are proceeding successfully with the process of developing clearance guidelines that allow solids and building rubble containing traces of radioisotopes to be cleared from regulatory control and unconditionally released to the commercial market after a specific storage period. With the emergence of new clearance standards, we took the initiative to compare U.S. to European and other international limits. This exercise is proving valuable in understanding the differences between the clearance standards and their implications for the radwaste management of fusion power plants. While clearance standards now exist for most radionuclides that are mainly important to the fission industry, no such standards are in place for many radionuclides of interest to fusion facilities. Before fusion penetrates the energy market, fusion-specific standards should be developed to address the safe release of fusion materials with trace levels of radioactive contamination.