Plenary Talks

Malcolm J Joyce

Malcolm J Joyce

Department of Engineering, Lancaster University, United Kingdom

Nuclear energy prospects in the UK: an overview of the advances and prospects for nuclear instrumentation and radiation measurement

Abstract:

There is a clear expectation in the United Kingdom (UK) that nuclear energy will play a significant role in its energy mix in the future. The UK has a long history of success in the field of nuclear technology and has for several years been making preparations to ensure it has a key role to offer, with respect to the construction of new nuclear power reactors, extending the life of those currently operating and decommissioning those coming off-line. In this presentation, a brief summary of the UK’s nuclear history will be provided, followed by an overview of the prospects being considered for nuclear energy in the UK for the future. The presentation will culminate with a summary of the advances and the prospects for nuclear instrumentation and radiation measurement in the UK nuclear industry.

Bio

Malcolm Joyce is Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Associate Dean for Research for the Faculty of Science & Technology at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom (UK). He is Technical Director and Co-founder of Hybrid Instruments Ltd. and was Head of Engineering at Lancaster from 2008 to 2015. His research is focused on applied radiation detection, and particularly on nuclear material characterisation with organic scintillation detectors. He is author on > 150 journal papers, > 100 conference papers and 15 patents. He is currently an investigator on research grants with a total value of >£14M. He is Editor on Progress in Nuclear Energy, IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science and the European Journal of Physics N (EPJ-N). Malcolm serves on the UK Government’s Nuclear Industry Research Advisory Board and on the nuclear materials steering group of the Henry Royce Institute, and is co-director of the UK’s National Nuclear User Facility. He was awarded a high doctorate (DEng) in 2012, the James Watt medal (Institution of Civil Engineers for best paper Proc. ICE-Energy) in 2014 and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2016. He wrote ‘Nuclear Engineering: A Conceptual Guide to Nuclear Power’, published in 2017.

Prof. David W. Townsend

Prof. David W. Townsend

Founding Director, Singapore Clinical Imaging Research Centre Fellow, IEEE

Radiation phobia : Fake news and alternative facts

Abstract:

For the past two decades there has been growing concern about the use of ionizing radiation for medical imaging. This concern is based on the perception that any exposure to ionizing radiation carries with it an increased risk of cancer. For over 50 years, such risks have been estimated based on the Linear No Threshold (LNT) model. This model assumes that there is a risk associated with any radiation exposure, however small, and that the risks of low-level exposure can be estimated by extrapolating to zero from high, often lethal, levels of radiation. Hence the concern that even the very low levels of radiation associated with medical imaging may cause cancer. However, there are no reliable data from which to estimate the cancer risk from such low radiation levels, and specifically, no data to unequivocally support the LNT model. Unfortunately, the perception that all radiation causes cancer has been extensively hyped through the media, creating radiation phobia and unnecessary concern among the patient population even though it is unsupported by scientific data. Such media reports have even been endorsed by members of the medical imaging profession even though the evidence increasingly supports an alternative to the LNT model whereby low levels of radiation may even be beneficial (hormesis model). Over the past few years, significant technological progress has resulted in imaging systems that require very low levels of ionizing radiation to acquire an image. This presentation will summarize the recent advances in medical imaging devices and review the data available to assess the corresponding radiation risk and, by identifying a few alternative facts, attempt to put into perspective the real concerns associated with medical imaging using ionizing radiation.

Bio

David W. Townsend obtained his B.Sc in Physics and his Ph.D. in Particle Physics and was a staff member for eight years at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1980, Dr Townsend joined the faculty of Geneva University Hospital. In 1993, he moved to the University of Pittsburgh as an Associate Professor of Radiology and Senior PET Physicist. He was Co-Director of the Pittsburgh PET Facility from 1996-2002, and became Professor of Radiology in 2000. The PET/CT scanner, developed by Dr Townsend and Dr Ronald Nutt, was named by TIME Magazine as the medical invention of the year 2000. Dr Townsend received the 2004 Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Academy of Molecular Imaging, and the 2008 Austrian Nuclear Medicine Pioneer Award. In 2006, he was elected a Fellow of the IEEE. He shared with Dr Ronald Nutt the 2010 IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology. From 2003 to 2009, Dr Townsend was Director of the Molecular Imaging and Translational Research Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In July 2009, he became Head of PET and SPECT Development for the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, Professor of Radiology at the National University of Singapore and was appointed Director of the A*STAR-NUS Clinical Imaging Research Centre in December 2010, a position from which he retired in 2018. He has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of the Mediterranean in Marseille, France and the University of Bristol in the UK. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists in London. Dr Townsend has co-authored over 175 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, is a reviewer for a number of scientific journals and has served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. More recently, he received the prestigious Paul C. Aebersold Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, and the Edward J Hoffman Medical Imaging Scientist Award from the IEEE NSS-MIC and shared the Rotblat Medal for co-authoring the 2016 most-cited paper in Physics in Medicine and Biology.

Dr. Michael Walsh

Dr. Michael Walsh

ITER International Fusion Energy Project Measurements and Plasma Diagnostic Challenges

Abstract:

Dr. Michael Walsh and the ITER Diagnostic Teams

In southern France, 7 partners comprising of 35 nations are collaborating to build the world’s largest tokamak. This is a magnetic fusion device called ITER that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion. This device will carry up to 15MA of plasma current and produce about 500MW of power, 400MW approximately in high-energy neutrons. The typical temperatures of the electrons inside this device are in the region of a few hundred million Kelvin. This project is now well advanced in its construction. This includes the buildings, the major components and the independent systems. Amongst these are the diagnostic systems.
Diagnostic techniques have been successfully developed through many generations of tokamaks and other devices, and realization of the measurement requirements in ITER needs to draw on this knowledge and push the boundaries to advance the designs to handle the new challenges. These involve long pulses, high neutron rates and activation, significant engineering, high heat fluxes and plasma facing mirrors to name a few. To address these challenges, a rigorous system engineering approach with detailed requirements flow-down from the top level Project Requirements to System requirements and beyond is followed. These requirements really define all the needs of the different projects. One very important aspect of these requirements is the measurement requirements. These define what each system will measure. This can be the spatial resolution to the time resolution to the measured quantity error.
While each diagnostic provides its own technical challenges, some of which will be presented, the integration of the systems in to a coherent working arrangement is a major challenge. This is because of the demands on space, overall cost and the need to solve various technical issues. Very often, the diagnostics are very closely integrated with each other and the other surrounding systems necessitating the need for tight management of interfaces. Adding to this is the fact that ITER is the first Nuclear Tokamak facility, means that the engineering is pushing the boundaries in many dimensions. This extends from welding attachments of components to the vacuum vessel to maintaining the performance of the first mirrors that are so important for several measurements.
Several strong teams across the partners have been working on the diagnostics and the engineering developments, and currently the diagnostic systems are in various stages of development from fully manufactured to some still in early design. This paper will discuss the current status and challenges of the diagnostic systems. An assessment of the different risks that may impact the performance of these systems will be outlined.
The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the ITER Organization.

Bio

Michael Walsh was born in Ireland. He took a degree in Electrical Engineering and Microelectronics from 1982 to 1986 at University College Cork, in Ireland. During this time, as well as the usual engineering topics, he developed an interest in optics and lasers, working initially on Far-Infrared Laser systems. After his degree, he followed his interests in lasers and optics to develop a compact high-power tunable CO2 waveguide laser. His subsequent PhD work mainly took place at the Culham Science Centre Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in the UK. This work was on the study of Ion-Transport in the Magnetic Fusion Device, HBTX-1D, and this involved the development of various diagnostic systems. After completing the PhD, he continued to work in the Fusion field and especially in the area of diagnostic development. Before his current position, he worked at JET (Joint European Torus) in the UK and now, he is head of Diagnostics for ITER based in St. Paul Lez Durance in southern France.


Plenary Talks speakers are shown in alphabetical order.