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Insights into potential consequences of fusion hypothetical accident, lessons learnt from the former fission accidents

Nie, Baojie, Ni, Muyi, Liu, Jinchao, Zhu, Zhilin, Zhu, Zuolong, Li, Fengchen
Environmental pollution 2019 v.245 pp. 921-931
accidents, clean energy, energy, environmental factors, humans, pollution, radioactivity
From previous catastrophic fission nuclear accidents, such as the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents, researchers learnt the lessons that external hazard beyond design basis or human errors could result in severe accidents and multi-failure of the confinements although they were considered as very-low-probability events and not requested to be paid much attention to according to the current nuclear safety regulations. Fusion energy is always regarded as a safe and clean energy. However, massive quantity of radioactivity still exists in the fusion reactor and is possible to be released into the environment. The environmental pollution and potential public consequences due to severe accidents of fusion reactor remain largely unexplored. In this contribution, we intended to investigate the hypothetical accident to envelop the worst but probable consequences of fusion reactor, and compare with historic Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents under assumed environmental conditions. It was demonstrated that, the radiation consequences of a hypothetical fusion accident would be much less severe than fission accidents, e.g. an INES 7 accident could not appear in a fusion reactor, as in the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents. However, it would still be disastrous and the publics close to site might be exposed to “potentially lethal” radiation dose.