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Chemical Hazards and Safety Issues in Fusion Safety Design

L. C. Cadwallader

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 44 / Number 2 / September 2003 / Pages 369-374


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Radiological inventory releases have dominated accident consequences for fusion; these consequences are important to analyze and are generally the most severe result of a fusion facility accident event. However, the advent of, or plan for, large-scale usage of some toxic materials poses the additional hazard of chemical exposure from an accident event. Examples of toxic chemicals are beryllium for magnetic fusion and fluorine for laser fusion. Therefore, chemical exposure consequences must also be addressed in fusion safety assessment. This paper provides guidance for fusion safety analysis. US Department of Energy (DOE) chemical safety assessment practices for workers and the public are reviewed. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published some guidance on public exposure to releases of mixtures of chemicals, this guidance has been used to create an initial guideline for treating mixed radiological and toxicological releases in fusion; for example, tritiated hazardous dust from a tokamak vacuum vessel. There is no convenient means to judge the hazard severity of exposure to mixed materials. The chemical fate of mixed material constituents must be reviewed to determine if there is a separate or combined radiological and toxicological carcinogenesis, or if other health threats exist with radiological carcinogenesis. Recommendations are made for fusion facility chemical safety evaluation and safety guidance for protecting the public from chemical releases, since such levels are not specifically identified in the DOE fusion safety standard.

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