By Hamish MacKinnon Banford (auth.), Jeffery Lewins, Martin Becker (eds.)

John Maynard Keynes is credited with the aphorism that the long term view in economics needs to be taken within the gentle that "in the long term we're aU dead". it isn't in any spirit of gloom in spite of the fact that that we invite our readers of the 16th quantity within the overview sequence, Advances in Nuclear technology and know-how, to take an extended view. the 2 crucial roles of nuclear strength lie within the army sphere - no longer addressed as such during this serie- within the sphere of the centralised construction of energy, and mainly electrical energy new release. The quick want for this latter has receded within the present period of limited economies, vanishing development premiums and coffee surpluses of oil prompt markets of the area. Nuclear power has its most vital position as an assurance opposed to the demanding occasions to return. yet will the call for come at a time while the present reactors with their heavy use of usual uranium feed shares are for use or in an period the place different points of the gasoline offer has to be exploited? The time scale is adequately doubtful and the length of the call for so unascertainable brilliant ahead coverage needs to expect that by the point the main call for comes, the kind of on hand traditional uranium can have been mostly fed on within the negative convertors of the present thermal fission programme.

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Radiation effects in ceramics with respect to their performance in a fusion environment have been much more widely studied than other insulating materials. The impetus for this has come in the main from Los Alamos National Laboratory, whose fusion reactor concept, the Reference Theta-Pinch Reactor (RTPR) (69), demanded an electrical insulator on the first wall which was required to withstand the full range of radiation emanating from the plasma. This ELECTRICAL INSULATION AND FUSION REACTORS 47 specific program has now been cancelled in favour of work on Reverse-Field Pinch and Compact Toroid concepts but the work done naturally remains relevant to the use of ceramics in fusion.

2 K involved only two materials: polyethylene and polymethyl methacrylate. The exercise with polyethylene was to determine the effects of temperature on the evolution of hydrogen from the sample which was being irradiated (93). 2 K was lower than at ambient. The other work was done using polymethyl methacrylate (94) only because it damages quickly with radiation which was important because of the experimental apparatus used. 2 K and samples irradiated at low temperature were shown to be a bit more tolerant of radiation than those irradiated at ambient.

Standard materials tested in this fashion do not appear to demonstrate a significantly different response to radiation as when irradiated at ambient, where the dose limits for the best thermoplastics and epoxy resins are 10 7 and 10 8 Gy respectively. There is the prospect though that the new polyimides offer up to an order of magnitude greater radiation tolerance than conventional epoxies. Where materials were both irradiated and tested at cryogenic temperatures without warm-up a substantial increase in radiation tolerance was observed for mechanical properties at least (90, 96).

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