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The Implementing Agreement on Enviromental, Safety, and
      Economic Aspects of Fusion Power(ESEFP IA)

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2014-12-9 11:02| View Publisher: root| View: 3772| Comments: 0

The International Energy Agency (IEA) Implementing Agreement (IA) on Environmental, Safety, and Economic Aspects of Fusion Power (ESEFP) continued in 201 by coordinating international R&D activities that produced progress in achieving the goal of a safe, clean, reliable, and affordable fusion power generation source.  This report highlights the activities in 2013 and briefly discusses the directions being considered for the coming year.  Task work plans under this IA are continually updated and refined during workshops and frequent communications among involved parties.

Objectives for the ESEFP IA are derived from what may be considered essential needs on the pathway to implementing fusion power.  These objectives address the development of pedigreed analysis tools that can be utilized in safety characterization of fusion reactors.  Developing such tools requires not only a fundamental understanding of relevant physical phenomena, but also requires generating suitable simulation methods, and utilizing data and simulation results to validate the tools.  Other IA objectives addressed the development of analysis methodologies that produce consistent assessments of various concepts with respect to the environmental, safety, and economic aspects of fusion applications.  Mutually understood methodologies among the international parties of this IA allow a fair comparison among concepts, for example, to the benefit of various governing bodies that develop energy policies.

Technical themes under study in this IA consider the unique phenomena and systems interactions for which an understanding is necessary for successful development of fusion power.  Synopses of the environment, safety, and economic aspects are discussed below.

 

Environment

One of the important reasons to pursue fusion energy development is that its environmental impacts are expectedly lower than other forms of energy production.  Fusion does not emit any green house gases.  To demonstrate that fusion is a good steward of the environment, cleanup of routine wastes and end-of-plant lifetime wastes is under study.  Fusion has very low amounts of, if any, high-level waste, but tends to have larger amounts of low-level waste.  Studying low activation materials and waste recycling are good management techniques that support a more benign environmental impact of this form of nuclear electricity production.  Fusion has the virtue of not requiring fuels that are considered to be a nuclear proliferation risk or produce long-lived transuranic waste.  Fusion will require tritium to be bred as a fuel, but time still exists to select reactor components with the ability to retain tritium fuel, and to keep tritium confined for use rather than escape into the environment.

 

Safety

The issues of greatest importance to fusion in terms of safety are under collaborative study.  Tritium fuel retention in a variety of materials is under vigorous study, often with visiting scientists.  The dust eroded from the fusion chamber walls – dust that is toxic, combustible, neutron-activated, and tritiated – is being studied for mobilization, combustion, and capture.  Thermal-hydraulic studies of vessel and cryostat breaches are necessary to understand how the ITER, or future power plant, vacuum vessel will respond to intruding room air or in-vessel cooling fluid.  Fusion experiment reliability is studied as the best indicator of predicting and improving the reliability of the next step devices.  Fusion magnets store high amounts of electromagnetic energy, so prudence requires study of magnet faults that could damage not only the magnets but other parts of the machine as well.

 

Economics

Conceptual power plant design studies are the only means at the present time to estimate the economics of future fusion power plants.  These estimates can be compared to other types of power plants to determine viability of fusion in the world energy market.  These studies also identify safety and environmental issues to be addressed, which is a compelling reason for the participant countries to undertake and continue performing these conceptual design studies.  Plant efficiency is not the only factor in the acceptance of fusion by the public.  Understanding a society’s perception and acceptance of that power source are also a factors that must be considered for any new power industry.

Disclaimer:The ESEFPIA also known as the implementing Agreement on a Co-operative Programme on Environmental,Safety and Economic Aspects of Fusion Power,functions within a framework created by the International Energy Agency(IEA).Views,findings and publications of the ESEFPIA do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of all of its individual member countries.

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