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Progress in U.S. Fusion Safety and Environmental Activities over the Last Decade

David Petti, Kathryn McCarthy

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 37 / Number 1 / January 2000 / Pages 1-23

Technical Paper /

Magnetic fusion energy has the potential for superior safety and environmental (S&E) characteristics relative to other energy options, which is one of the main reasons for developing fusion power. Excellent progress has been made in understanding the nature of the S&E concerns associated with fusion power and in demonstrating the S&E potential of fusion. Over the past 10 yr, U.S. fusion S&E activities have been largely focused on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). The design of ITER is such that the hazards addressed are similar to those of a future fusion power plant; hence, many of the safety issues addressed by ITER are relevant to commercial fusion power plants.  This paper reviews the progress and accomplishments in fusion S&E activities performed largely in support of ITER over the past decade and discusses future directions in fusion safety design criteria development and implementation; characterization of the radioactive and hazardous materials in fusion and the potential energy sources that could mobilize those materials during an accident; integrated state-of-the-art safety and risk analysis tools, methods, and results; and development of environmental design criteria for radioactive and hazardous fusion waste minimization as well as the evaluation of recycle/reuse potential of fusion materials.

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