A radioactive waste management scenario for commercial fusion power reactors has been analysed assuming their debut by 2050. The focus has been given to material selection namely for the breeder blanket. The magnitude of the potential impact of in-vessel material selection, on waste generation, is illustrated by comparing three current blanket concepts: the self-cooled liquid metal blanket, the ceramic pebble bed blanket and the solid ceramic blanket. The main findings from the present study are:
1. Operational waste quantities can potential be greater than decommissioning waste, but there are means for reducing operational waste;
2. Operational waste can be minimized by a self-cooled blanket design utilizing Li-Pb, as breeder/multiplier and vanadium or low-activation steel as structural material;
3. Operational waste can also be reduced for ceramic breeding blankets by processing the breeder material and by recycling its structure;
4. Prolonging the life of the blanket structure, possibly by annealing to repair neutron-induced damage, can also reduce the quantity of recycled material. The possibility also exists for developing improved materials that will prolong the life of in-vessel components.
The conclusion is that future work on fusion waste management should focus on operational waste rather than decommissioning waste; and, in so doing, focus on the study and development of fusion materials that will prolong in-vessel component life, enhance component reuse and recycle, and minimize waste.