Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 47 / Number 3 / April 2005 / Pages 445-449
Technical Paper / Fusion Energy - Experimental Devices and Advanced Designs
For the first time since the early 1990's, the U.S. Department of Energy has long term research and development programs in both nuclear fission and nuclear fusion, the Generation IV program and the ARIES program, respectively. The Generation IV program has introduced a safety goal for future fission reactor systems that has long been reflected in the ARIES mission: no off-site emergency response to any design basis accident. This change, in concert with the overall departure from light water reactor technology, will drive a change in the regulatory framework for both Generation IV reactors and fusion power plants of the future. Further, both fission and fusion power plants will have to compete in similar future energy markets with uncertainties in energy prices and the development of alternative energy products. Enabling the success of nuclear energy, advanced materials will be a cornerstone to both programs, driven both by higher temperatures and heat fluxes and by a desire for longer lifetimes in high radiation environments. The synergies created by these increasingly parallel programs open the door for renewed collaborations that will increase the total effectiveness of research needed in both.