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Introduction to the Beryllium Technology Special Issue

Glen R. Longhurst

Nuclear Technology / Volume 159 / Number 3 / September 2007 / Page 227

Technical Paper / Beryllium Technology

This issue of Nuclear Technology contains selected papers presented at the 7th IEA International Workshop on Beryllium Technology, held November 30 to December 2, 2005, at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort, Santa Barbara, California. This workshop series was initiated in 1988 and came under International Energy Agency (IEA) sponsorship in 1993.

The objectives of meetings in this series include bringing together leading researchers in the field of Be technology and disseminating information on recent progress in this field, particularly related to nuclear research applications, through presentations on a variety of relevant topics. Beryllium gained early prominence as a neutron reflector in weapons and research reactors. It is being considered as a plasma-facing material for tokamak fusion reactors because of its low atomic number and oxygen affinity. While applications for metallic Be are becoming more specialized, for example in high precision mirrors, the market for alloys and ceramics of Be is strong and growing. Its unique physical properties make Be very useful in future nuclear applications.

Forty-seven persons, representing eleven countries, registered for the 2005 workshop. Presentations were made in five topical areas that included (a) summaries of work being conducted in Japan, Europe, states of the former Soviet Union, the United States, and within the ITER Program; (b) material properties and joining techniques; (c) advanced material development; (d) plasma and tritium interactions; and (e) waste issues. Also, following tradition, a "Town Meeting" or open forum was held in which all participants were free to express views on issues of current importance and suggest important areas for further research. Dr. Hiroshi Kawamura (in absentia) and Dr. Vladimir Shestakov, long-time members of the International Organizing Committee for these workshops, were honored for their service with small plaques bearing samples of beryl ore and an inscription citing their contributions.

The papers selected for publication here were chosen for their technical excellence and for the contribution they make to the field of Be technology. They are representative of the diverse range of activities presently underway: from understanding complex reactions with materials and in intermetallic compounds to behaviors in plasmas to dealing with radioactive Be wastes.

Many persons' and organizations' efforts and support made this workshop possible. The Idaho National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy were kind enough to underwrite basic planning and conduct of the workshop and provided assistance with travel expenses for some participants. Brush Wellman Inc. and NGK Insulators, Ltd., were commercial sponsors of the workshop, without whose generous participation many workshop amenities would have been impossible. The organizers are appreciative of the contributions of the participants, whose time and effort to participate and prepare papers made it possible to share with others the work they are doing and their insight into this fascinating and important field of endeavor.

 
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