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2020 ANS Virtual Winter Meeting
November 16–19, 2020
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U.S. reactor technologies to be featured at IAEA conference
A virtual side event at the 64th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency will spotlight U.S. reactor technologies. The free event, US Reactor Technologies: Flexible Energy Security for Real-World Challenges, will be held this Thursday, September 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (EDT).
The event will highlight the capabilities of small modular reactors and other innovative reactors for addressing countries’ current needs. It will also examine anticipated challenges in the future, as well as underscore the need to act now.
The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. Advanced registration is required.
Robert L. Hirsch, Gerald L. Kulcinski, Doug Chapin, Herman Diekamp
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 76 | Number 5 | July 2020 | Pages 670-679
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The Electric Power Research Institute outlined three criteria important for a commercially viable fusion power plant: competitive electric power cost, regulatory simplicity, and public acceptance. In this paper we consider likely U.S. regulatory considerations for deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion power reactors, relying on existing criteria and past actions by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has asserted regulatory jurisdiction over U.S. commercial fusion reactors. We begin with consideration of a basic D-T fusion reactor, independent of plasma confinement approach. Because tritium and radioactivity are present, likely regulation will require containment structures and various safety measures for each component. Regulators are certain to require that all nuclear components of the system be housed in an overall containment vessel that must be held at less than atmospheric pressure to contain any leakage of tritium, radioactive corrosion products, radioactive coolant, and activated elements in the air. In addition, regulators are sure to require plant structure and operations that minimize the potential for clandestine plutonium breeding. Next, we add superconducting magnets and a plasma dump (divertor) to the basic system and recognize the small but nonzero probability of those magnets explosively quenching, potentially causing reactor damage and dramatically increasing containment vessel pressure. Finally, we consider ITER as prototypical of a D-T–fueled fusion power reactor. Because ITER-like systems are subject to damaging plasma disruptions, regulators are almost certain to require safeguards against such events significantly damaging first walls and subsystems. Finally, we believe that regulators are not likely to back off significantly in requirements related to the deuterium-deuterium and D3He fuel cycles even though the tritium production and the neutron damage in the latter fuel cycle are significantly below those in a D-T system. However, regulations for p11B and 3He3He fuel cycles are certain to be dramatically less demanding because of the lack of tritium and essentially no neutron production.