University of Wisconsin Neutronics Center of Excellence

Environment and Radwaste Management

Radioactive waste management should be recognized as an issue that is significant not only to the fusion community, but also to the global environment. As fusion energy becomes a contributor to the world's energy supply by the mid 21st century, managing the many thousand cubic meters of active materials after plant decommissioning represents a real challenge to the fusion industry and cannot be relegated to the back-end as only a disposal issue. Scenarios for radwaste management include disposal in geological repositories, recycling and reuse within the nuclear industry, and clearance or release to the commercial market if the materials contain traces of radioactivity. Most fusion plants generate Class-C low-level waste, requiring near-surface burial.

The wealth of experience accumulated over the past 30-40 years of fusion power plant studies must be forged in a new strategy to reshape all aspects of handling the continual stream of radioactive materials during operation and after plant decommissioning. With tighter environmental controls and the political difficulty of building new repositories worldwide, the disposal option should be replaced with more environmentally attractive scenarios, such as:

  1. Recycle and reuse within the nuclear industry
  2. Clear or release to the commercial market if materials contain traces of radioactivity.

There is a growing international effort in support of this new trend. The introduction of the clearance category for slightly radioactive materials is an important recent development to accommodate most decommissioned waste at a cost much lower than that for traditional low-level waste produced by the majority of U.S. power plants.

In the late 1990s, we introduced the clearance option to various design concepts. The majority of the in-vessel components cannot be cleared from regulatory control even after an extended storage of 100-500 y, according to the clearance guidelines by the IAEA and the U.S. NRC. The bioshield, cryostat, and individual magnet constituents qualify for clearance. Representing 75-80% of the total waste volume, the cleared materials save a substantial disposal cost and, more importantly, free ample space in the repositories for other radwaste.

Just recently, we applied the recycling approach to the non-clearable in-vessel components (blanket, shield, and vacuum vessel). All components can potentially be recycled using conventional and advanced remote handling equipment. The online removal of specific radionuclides during recycling prolongs the reusability of materials. Transmutation of these byproducts in fusion devices is one of the means being explored to avoid their geological burial.

As an important goal for U.S. power plant studies, the national ARIES project is committed to radwaste minimization. The focus on compact devices with radwaste reduction mechanisms (such as blanket segmentation and well-optimized components) contributed most significantly to the factor of 2-4 difference in radwaste volume between recent ARIES plants and previous designs developed prior to 1995.

To make fusion a viable energy source with minimal environmental impact, we highly recommend minimizing the radwaste by design, and recycling/clearing all fusion components, if economically and technologically feasible, avoiding the disposal approach, meaning no long-term radwaste burden on future generations.

Our recent activity placed UW as the leading U.S. institute for radwaste management assessments. This activity drew the attention of our colleagues in Europe, Russia, Japan, and S. Korea, requesting collaboration with UW in this unique area of research.


Publications

Results: 1 to 40 of 68 order by: UWFDM AuthorTitle Date
1   2 

Recent Advances in Fusion Radioactive Material Studies; M. Zucchetti, L. Di Pace, L. El-Guebaly, J.-H. Han, B. N. Kolbasov, V. Massaut, Y. Someya, K. Tobita, and M. Desecures, October 2013 [presented at 27th Symposium on Fusion Technology, Sept. 24-28, 2012, Li├Ęge, Belgium; published in Fusion Engineering and Design, 88, Issues 6-8 (October 2013) 652-656.].

UWFDM-1286   The Feasibility of Recycling and Clearance of Active Materials from Fusion Power Plants; M. Zucchetti, L.A. El-Guebaly, R.A. Forrest, T.D. Marshall, N.P. Taylor, K. Tobita, November 2005 [submitted to the 12th International Conference on Fusion Reactor Materials, 4-9 December 2005, Santa Barbara CA; published in J. Nucl. Matls. 367-370 (2007) 1355-1360]. (12 pages, 1.2 MB)

retrieve PDF Assessment of the Activation, Decay Heat, and Waste Disposal of a Dual Coolant Lithium Lead Test Blanket Module for ITER; M.Z. Youssef and M.E. Sawan, September 2005 [presented at the 21st IEEE/NPSS Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE), 26-29 September 2005, Knoxville TN]. (1 page, 821 kB)

UWFDM-1279   Assessment of the Activation, Decay Heat, and Waste Disposal of a Dual Coolant Lithium Lead Test Blanket Module for ITER; M.Z. Youssef and M.E. Sawan, September 2005 [presented at the 21st IEEE/NPSS Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE), 26-29 September 2005, Knoxville TN]. (8 pages, 1.2 MB)

UWFDM-1174   Comparison of Radwaste Volume and Hazard in Liquid Wall and Conventional Solid Wall Concepts; M.Z. Youssef, M.E. Sawan, H.Y. Khater, January 2002 [Presented at the 19th IEEE/NPSS Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE), 22-25 January 2002, Atlantic City NJ]. (7 pages, 724 kB)

UWFDM-1196   Component Lifetime Comparison and Waste Volume in CLiFF Sn/Flibe and Sn/LiPb Blankets; M. Youssef and M. Sawan, April 2002 [presented at the 6th International Symposium on Fusion Nuclear Technology, 7-12 April 2002, San Diego CA; published in Fusion Engineering and Design, vol. 63-64, pp. 277-283 (2002)].

UWFDM-1195   Radwaste Volume in Lithium and Flibe Thick Liquid Wall and Comparison to Conventional SW Concepts; M. Youssef and M. Sawan, April 2002 [presented at the 6th International Symposium on Fusion Nuclear Technology, 7-12 April 2002, San Diego CA; published in Fusion Engineering and Design, vol. 63-64, pp. 263-269 (2002)].

UWFDM-691   The Impact of D-3He Fusion Reactors on Waste Disposal; W.F. Vogelsang and H.Y Khater, May 1987 [published in Fusion Engineering and Design 5 (1998) 367-377]. (13 pages, 734 kB)

Recent Accomplishments and Future Directions in U.S. Fusion Safety & Environmental Program; D. Petti et al., July 10-13, 2006 [8th IAEA TM on Fusion Power Plant Safety].

UWFDM-1420   Developments in 3-D Nuclear Analysis: Model Visualization and Robust Activation Analysis; Lucas Mynsberge, January 2014 [M.S. thesis]. (114 pages, 2.4 MB)

retrieve PDF Nuclear Energy Without Radioactive Waste; G.L. Kulcinski, July 2000 [presented at the Second Annual Lunar Development Conference, ``Return to the Moon II'', 20-21 July 2000, Las Vegas NV]. (23 pages, 1.9 MB)

UWFDM-1131   Nuclear Power Without Radioactive Waste - The Promise of Lunar Helium-3; G.L. Kulcinski and H.H. Schmitt, July 2000 [presented at the Second Annual Lunar Development Conference, ``Return to the Moon II'', 20-21 July 2000, Las Vegas NV]. (9 pages, 228 kB)

retrieve PDF Using Lunar Helium-3 to Generate Nuclear Power Without the Production of Nuclear Waste; G.L. Kulcinski, May 2001 [presented at the 20th International Space Development Conference, Albuquerque NM, May 24-28, 2001]. (20 pages, 1.2 MB)

Some Technological Problems of Fusion Materials Management; Boris Kolbasov, Laila El-Guebaly, Vladimir Khripunov, Youji Someya, Kenji Tobita, Massimo Zucchetti, September 20, 2013 [Presented at 11th ISFNT, Barcelona, Spain, September 16-20, 2013. To be published in Fusion Engineering and Design.]. ( available online )

UWFDM-925   Activation and Waste Disposal of the ARIES-II Tokamak Fusion Power Reactor; H.Y. Khater, October 1993 [presented at 15th IEEE/NPSS Symposium on Fusion Engineering, 11-14 October 1993, Hyannis MA]. (7 pages, 816 kB)

UWFDM-1147   Activation, Decay Heat, and Waste Disposal Analyses for the ARIES-AT Power Plant; D. Henderson, L. El-Guebaly, P. Wilson, A. Abdou, and the ARIES Team, October 2000 [presented at the 14th Topical Meeting on the Technology of Fusion Energy, October 15-19, 2000, Park City UT]. (7 pages, 190 kB)

UWFDM-1182   Activation Assessment for IFE Thin Liquid Wall Materials and Proposed Variations for Liquid Waste Minimization; L. El-Guebaly, P. Wilson, D. Henderson, L. Waganer, R. Raffray and the ARIES Team, November 2002. (18 pages, 1.3 MB)

retrieve PDF Activation Assessments of 316-SS Vacuum Vessel and W-Based Divertor; L. El-Guebaly, A. Robinson, D. Henderson, May 2010 [presented at the ARIES Project Meeting, 19 May 2010, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla CA]. (33 pages, 3.0 MB)

Activation and Environmental Aspects of ARIES-ACT-1 Power Plant; L. El-Guebaly, L. Mynsberge, C. Martin, D. Henderson, 2014 [to be published in Fusion Science and Technology, 2014.].

UWFDM-1308   Activation and Waste Stream Analysis for RTL of Z-Pinch Power Plant; L. El-Guebaly, P. Wilson, M. Sawan, November 2006 [presented at the 17th ANS Topical Meeting on Fusion Energy, 13-15 November 2006, Albuquerque NM]. (7 pages, 945 kB)

retrieve PDF Activation and Waste Stream Analysis for RTL of Z-Pinch Power Plant; L. El-Guebaly, P. Wilson, and M. Sawan, November 2006 [presented at the 17th ANS Topical Meeting on Fusion Energy, 13-15 November 2006, Albuquerque NM]. (1 page, 922 kB)

UWFDM-1154   Activation of Target Coatings/Hohlraums and Influence on Waste Management of IFE Chambers; L.A. El-Guebaly, D.L. Henderson, P.P.H. Wilson, A.E. Abdou and the ARIES Team, November 2001. (17 pages, 259 kB)

UWFDM-1340   An Integrated Approach to the Back-End of the Fusion Materials Cycle; L. El-Guebaly, M. Zucchetti, L. Di Pace, B.N. Kolbasov, V. Massaut, R. Pampin, P. Wilson, May 2008 [published in Fusion Science and Technology, 52 (2) 2009, 109-139]. (49 pages, 1.5 MB)

UWFDM-1294   Clearance Considerations for Slightly-Irradiated Components of Fusion Power Plants; L. El-Guebaly, R. Pampin, M. Zucchetti, July 2006 [presented at the 8th IAEA Technical Meeting on Fusion Power Plant Safety, Vienna, Austria, 10-13 July 2006; published in Nuclear Fusion 47 (2007) 480-484]. (10 pages, 707 kB)

Clearance Considerations for Slightly-Irradiated Components of Fusion Power Plants; L. El-Guebaly, R. Pampin, and M. Zucchetti, July 10-13, 2006 [8th IAEA TM on Fusion Power Plant Safety].

retrieve PDF Clearance Issues and Radwaste Volume for ARIES-AT; L. El-Guebaly, D. Henderson, A. Abdou, P. Wilson, E. Mogahed, December 1999 [Presented at the ARIES Project Meeting, 20-21 March 2000, University of California at San Diego]. (17 pages, 130 kB)

UWFDM-1140   Clearance Issues for Advanced Fusion Power Plants; L. El-Guebaly, D. Henderson, A. Abdou, P. Wilson, and the ARIES Team, October 2000 [presented at the 14th Topical Meeting on the Technology of Fusion Energy, October 15-19, 2000, Park City UT; published in Fusion Technology, 39 (2001) 986-990]. (7 pages, 182 kB)

UWFDM-1285   Current Challenges Facing Recycling and Clearance of Fusion Radioactive Materials; L.A. El-Guebaly, R.A. Forrest, T.D. Marshall, N.P. Taylor, K. Tobita, M. Zucchetti, November 2005. (20 pages, 1.3 MB)

UWFDM-1335   Environmental Aspects of Recent Trend in Managing Fusion Radwaste: Recycling and Clearance, Avoiding Disposal; L.A. El-Guebaly, June 2007 [published in the Proceedings of the 2nd IAEA Technical Meeting on First Generation of Fusion Power Plants: Design and Technology, 20-22 June 2007, Vienna, Austria, IAEA-TM-32812; IAEA CD ISBN 978-92-0-159508-9.]. (14 pages, 698 kB)

retrieve PDF Environmental Benefits and Impact of Radwaste Management Approaches: Disposal, Recycling, and Clearance; L. El-Guebaly, November 2006 [presented at the 17th ANS Topical Meeting on Fusion Energy, 13-15 November 2006, Albuquerque NM]. (20 pages, 5.4 MB)

Evaluation of Disposal, Recycling, and Clearance Scenarios for Managing ARIES Radwaste after Plant Decommissioning; L. El-Guebaly, July 10-13, 2006 [8th IAEA TM on Fusion Power Plant Safety].

UWFDM-1293   Evaluation of Disposal, Recycling, and Clearance Scenarios for Managing ARIES Radwaste after Plant Decommissioning; L. El-Guebaly, July 2006 [presented at the 8th IAEA Technical Meeting on Fusion Power Plant Safety, Vienna, Austria, 10-13 July 2006; published in Nuclear Fusion 47 (2007) 485-488]. (9 pages, 574 kB)

retrieve PDF Evaluation of Disposal, Recycling, and Clearance Scenarios for Managing ARIES Radwaste after Plant Decommissioning; L. El-Guebaly, July 2006 [presented at the 8th IAEA Technical Meeting on Fusion Power Plant Safety, July 10-13, 2006, Vienna, Austria]. (23 pages, 9.4 MB)

UWFDM-1333   Evaluation of Recent Scenarios for Managing Fusion Activated Materials: Recycling and Clearance, Avoiding Disposal; L. El-Guebaly, V. Massaut, K. Tobita, L. Cadwallader, September 2007 (revised January 2008). (33 pages, 1.8 MB)

retrieve PDF Evolution of Clearance Standards and Implications for Radwaste Management of Fusion Power Plants; L.A. El-Guebaly, P. Wilson, D. Paige, September 2004 [presented at the 16th ANS Topical Meeting on Fusion Energy, 14-16 September 2004, Madison WI]. (21 pages, 2.2 MB)

UWFDM-1271   Evolution of Clearance Standards and Implications for Radwaste Management of Fusion Power Plants; L.A. El-Guebaly, P. Wilson, D. Paige, and the ARIES and Z-Pinch Teams, July 2005 (revised August 2005)  [ Fusion Science and Technology, 49 (2006) 62-73]. (29 pages, 1.1 MB)

retrieve PDF Feasibility of Recycling Hohlraum Wall Materials; L. El-Guebaly, P. Wilson, D. Henderson, A. Varuttamaseni, April 2002 [presented at the ARIES Project Meeting, 22-23 April 2002, Madison WI]. (19 pages, 250 kB)

UWFDM-1219   Feasibility of Target Material Recycling as Waste Management Alternative; L. El-Guebaly, P. Wilson, D. Henderson, A. Varuttamaseni, and the ARIES Team, October 2003 [published in Fusion Science and Technology 46, No. 3, 506 (2004)]. (24 pages, 903 kB)

UWFDM-1413   Future Trend Toward the Ultimate Goal of Radwaste-Free Fusion: Feasibility of Recycling/Clearance, Avoiding Geological Disposal; L.A. El-Guebaly, June 2012 [presented at the 1st Conference on Inertial Fusion Energy, 25-27 April 2012, Yokohama, Japan; published in J. Plasma and Fusion Research 8, 3404041 (May 2013)]. (8 pages, 878 kB)

retrieve PDF Goals, Challenges, and Successes of Managing Fusion Active Materials; L. El-Guebaly, V. Massaut, K. Tobita, L. Cadwallader, October 2007 [presented at the 8th International Symposium on Fusion Nuclear Technology, 1-5 October 2007, Heidelberg, Germany; published in Fusion Engineering and Design 83, Issues 7-9 (2008) 928-935]. (26 pages, 2.3 MB)


Results: 1 to 40 of 68 order by: UWFDM AuthorTitle Date
1   2