Radiation Protection Today Winter 2021 - Page 20

must be extracted and injected back into the reactor chamber .

The radiological challenges for fusion energy mainly surround the use , handling , and storing of tritium , operational radiological doses , and the generation of radioactive waste . Tritium is a difficult isotope to manage due to the fact that hydrogen diffuses through most materials , can be in a gaseous state , and it can form tritiated water . The expected amount of tritium required on site at any given time for the normal functioning power requirements of a fusion reactor ( i . e . 24 / 7 ) is of the order of 100g to 5000g , depending on reactor design and power output size . The expected radiological operational doses during operation can be quite significant due to the gamma-rays and x-rays generated by the plasma , 14.1 MeV neutrons that are produced by the fusion reaction , and residual activation from the structural components that are exposed to these neutrons . It is this activation that produces low-level and some intermediate level waste , as shown by the latest research published by UKAEA , which must then be appropriately disposed of . The intermediate level waste is generally the result of a few minor alloying elements within structural materials , such as nitrogen ( which produces nanosized nitrides that strengthen steels significantly ), and minor impurities , such as niobium .
The UK government has just published its fusion strategy and is currently consulting on the regulatory framework for fusion energy as the industry pushes for commercialisation in the 2030s and 2040s . The proposed regulatory framework outlines a pathway for fusion energy to be regulated by the Health and Safety Executive / Health and Safety Executive for Nothern Ireland and environment agencies under a proportional and enabling system which will ensure public safety and environmental protection . In accordance with this strategy , new fusion power stations will need to be designed for decommissioning , with ring-fenced funds set aside for safe and environmentally responsible decommissioning when they reach the end of their operational life .
Fusion energy is experiencing a rapid period of investment , innovation , and growth that has never been seen before . Government support and public funding are enabling the industry to take great strides towards unlocking the potential of fusion to provide a commercially viable , sustainable and climatefriendly energy source for the next generation , and into the future . The radiation protection profession has a significant role in helping to deliver this important mission .
The photograph shows Jen Angus ( UKAEA ) being presented with the 2021 Jack Martin Award for best oral presentation at the Annual Conference by SRP President Jim Thurston . Her presentation was entitled ' Radiation Protection for Fusion ' and they are pictured in front of a picture of the JET tokamak . SRP members have access to presentations via the Past Event Archive .
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