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Lower Activation Materials and Magnetic Fusion Reactors

Robert W. Conn, Everett E. Bloom, J. W. Davis, Robert E. Gold, R. Little, Kenneth R. Schultz, Dale L. Smith, F. W. Wiffen

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 5 / Number 3 / May 1984 / Pages 291-310


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Radioactivity in fusion reactors can be effectively controlled by materials selection. The detailed relationship between the use of a material for construction of a magnetic fusion reactor and the material's characteristics important to waste disposal, safety, and system maintainability has been studied. The quantitative levels of radioactivation are presented for many materials and alloys, including the role of impurities, and for various design alternatives. A major outcome has been the development of quantitative definitions to characterize materials based on their radioactivation properties. Another key result is a four-level classification scheme to categorize fusion reactors based on quantitative criteria for waste management, system maintenance, and safety. A recommended minimum goal for fusion reactor development is a reference reactor that (a) meets the requirements for Class C shallow land burial of waste materials, (b) permits limited hands-on maintenance outside the magnet's shield within 2 days of a shutdown, and (c) meets all requirements for engineered safety. The achievement of a fusion reactor with at least the characteristics of the reference reactor is a realistic goal. Therefore, in making design choices or in developing particular materials or alloys for fusion reactor applications, consideration must be given to both the activation characteristics of a material and its engineering practicality for a given application.

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