tions, so minimizing its inventory in fusion facilities is a first step (see the section on tritium management above). Other radioactive material present in the IFE plant must also be considered, together with possible release scenarios. Overall, the IFE source term is significantly smaller than its fission counterpart, which should benefit the licensing process. Analysis done for systems studies shows acceptable safety performance; however, in the absence of experimental results to validate models, the actual performance remains highly uncertain. Validation and verification of models is extremely important to the NRC and will be an important factor in the licensing process.

Recommendation 3-9: Validation and verification of models is extremely important to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and will be an important factor in the licensing process. Development of models, including validation and verification, should be pursued early. Working with the NRC early and often will be important, as well as looking to other programs (e.g., ITER and fission) for successful licensing strategies.

Scientific and Engineering Challenges and Future R&D Objectives

The environmental, safety, and health aspects of the IFE facilities should continue to be an important point of discussion in any program. The IFE community should continue to analyze and bring attention to the favorable characteristics of these plants. Continued development of sophisticated models, together with data for validation of the models, is important in the preparation for licensing of an IFE plant. The IFE program should continue to keep abreast of NRC licensing activities and keep the lines of communication with the NRC open.

Path Forward

Near Term (<5 Years)

Needed R&D activities include systems studies with a focus on realistic assumptions and schedules. Radioactive waste management should be an area of particular focus given recent activities by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC).68 The development of a safety model, with an eye towards future licensing, and the development of experiments to validate models will be critical.


68 The BRC was created under the authority of DOE and tasked with devising a new strategy for managing the back end of the nation’s inventory of nuclear fuel cyclewaste; it issued its final report in January 2012. A copy of the report and other information on the commission can be obtained at http://tinyurl.com/bvsshko; accessed on May 16, 2013.

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