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World nations inject $12.8-billion USD into the project

The Globe and Mail reports this week that the ITER nuclear fusion project has been approved for $12.8-billion USD. Although the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) has been in the planning and development stages for more than ten years, it is well supported by most of the world's leading countries that include the U.S., China, India, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the European Union.

DailyTech previously reported that the ITER project last met in Belgium, where the project was discussed for international support and funding. The main goal of the ITER project is to counter the effects of global warming and other environmentally harmful waste products that result from using fossil fuels. According to the ITER group, a nuclear fusion reactor will be able to produce energy by harnessing the same source of power that gives life to the sun.

The approval of the ITER project was accomplished at the Elysee Palace in Paris, where French president Jacques Chirac noted that "the growing shortage of resources and the battle against global warming demand a revolution in our ways of production and consumption." Many of the world leaders and leading scientists believe that nuclear fusion will be one of the primary sources of energy by the end of the century.

The first ITER reactor will be built in Cadarache, Provence. According to the report, the European Union will be funding 50-percent of the project while the remaining countries will each fund roughly 10-percent. The reactor is expected to create some 10,000 new jobs and take roughly eight years to build. 400 scientists around the world will manage the reactor and a demonstration power plant using nuclear fusion will be up and running by 2040.

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Lets hope they keep this controlled fusion controlled.
By Bladen on 11/24/2006 5:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
If a fusion power plant went the way of Chernobyl, there wouldn't be any radiation, just one hellova bang.

By hoohoo51 on 11/24/2006 5:45:54 PM , Rating: 1
no when fusion goes unstable it simply colapses in on itself and dies thats y there are no fusion bombs becaese the reaction goes --->*<---- while fission goes ****<->***
or in other words "big badda boom"

By Goty on 11/24/2006 5:59:29 PM , Rating: 2
Correction, fusion reaction can and do become unstable and result in massive explosions (ever heard of a super nova?), the only real difference is that fusion reactions detiorate into conflagrations whereas fission reactions result in detonations. Both are extremely powerful, one is just much more violent than the other.

By DRMichael on 11/24/2006 6:28:09 PM , Rating: 5
Actually, the most powerful weapon in mankinds arsenal utilizes a fusion reaction. It's commonly known as an H-Bomb, or hydrogen bomb. However, I would be interested to know the consequences of a mishap. My biggest question, since I haven't read up on the reactor, is how will electricity be generated. I would hope we're still not resorting to boiling water.

By Griswold on 11/25/2006 5:07:55 AM , Rating: 2
Of course it will involve boiling water and propel a turbine with the steam.

By johnsonx on 11/24/2006 8:58:05 PM , Rating: 2
there are no fusion bombs

Really? That's quite interesting. All those US and Russian missiles with nuclear fusion warheads are no threat then. Excellent.

By johnsonx on 11/24/2006 9:40:37 PM , Rating: 4
While hoohoo51's assertion that there are no fusion bombs is nonsense (perhaps that's not what he meant to say?), the salient point here is that so far, the all the fusion reactions we have been able to create have to be forced to occur. Even in the apparent runaway fusion reaction of a fusion bomb, it requires a sizable fision detonation to supply the necessary heat and compression to initiate fusion. The reaction fizzles out fairly quickly, but not before a massive release of energy.

In the lab or in a fusion reactor, it obviously isn't practical or possible to light off a fision bomb to initiate fusion. The only way to make it happen is to heat and accelerate a tiny volume of heavy hydrogen to the point where fusion occurs (called a plasma, where the electrons disassociate themselves from the proton/neutron nuclei), and then extract the created energy without halting the reaction. Since the temperature at which fusion occurs is far higher than the boiling point of metal (nevermind the melting point!), the only way to contain such a plasma is in a magnetic field. If the fusion reaction becomes unstable and you loose magnetic containment, the plasma touches the cool metal walls of the containment ring and instantly cools down, becoming so much hot gas. As hot as the plasma is, there isn't enough mass (heat energy=mass*temperature*specific heat of the material) to do more than scortch the metal of the containment ring. There is no chance of a runaway reaction or explosion, as the heavy hydrogen fuel must be continously supplied from outside the reaction: either the reaction is proceeding normally, or it has collasped and you're just pumping more fuel into a non-reactive chamber. Now the greatest risk would be a hydrogen leak which could lead to fire or convential explosion, which would be a very localized problem (and would be rather unlikely in any event). There is very little residual radition from this type of nuclear reaction, as there are no heavy by-products. The product of a fision reaction is itself radioactive, and all the by-products are as well. The product of hydrogen fusion, on the other hand, is just helium. All the helium produced by a fusion reactor could probably be pumped off and used to fill children's party balloons! (ok, not really, but you get the idea)

By johnsonx on 11/24/2006 9:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
fire or convential explosion

Of course I meant 'conventional', just in case there was any confusion.

By sbanjac on 11/25/2006 9:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
1. In the case of Iter, the reaction is not a hydrogen fusion reaction. It is a D-T fusion reaction (deuterium-tritium).
2. The product of a DT fusion reaction is not helium alone. It is helium and a free neutron.

By KristopherKubicki on 11/26/2006 6:14:07 AM , Rating: 2
It is a D-T fusion reaction (deuterium-tritium).

mmmm DT... fusion.... mmmm :)

By johnsonx on 11/26/2006 3:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I know they're not fusing plain hydrogen. Plain hydrogen doesn't fuse easily at all. Notice I said 'heavy hydrogen' at one point, which encompasses deuterium and tritium. I was trying to keep it all simple for the masses. Admittedly I hadn't actually read alot of detail about this particular project, so I was guessing they were using D-D fusion. I guess I am curious what they will be doing with all the extra neutrons created in D-T fusion, so I will have to read up a bit.

That said though, your corrections are indeed correct.

By Xajel on 11/24/2006 11:43:57 PM , Rating: 1
correction, fusion energy is much much stronger than fission the problem with fusion is it's requirement for high temprature to just start ( millions of C's )

and there's Fission bomb, and to start the fussion reaction they need high temprature, they just explode a fision bomb, the heat generated from the fision bomb is enough to start the fussion reaction it self...

technically the fusion bomb does not leave radiations like fission bomb, but leaves high level and powerfull of electromagnatic fields, most rays are IR, Visible, UV, X-Rays, Gama and some Cosmic rays too...

but duo to the need for very high temprature to start the bomb they have to do fission first wich will leave radioations...

you can google for fussion bomb, you will find 1 or two vid's as they didn't bomb that much of it...

By Comdrpopnfresh on 11/25/2006 1:02:10 AM , Rating: 3
actually, nucs called "thermonuclear" weapons are fusion powered. they use fission to create extreme compression and heat, which starts fusion, which then powers a resulting fission reaction much more larger, powerful, and efficient compared to the initial fission reaction, or that of simple fission bombs. These were the weapons tested in the 'bikini atolls'. They are the most powerful nuclear weapons on the face of the world, the ones in double-digit megatons.
Fission reactors technically don't explode. Chernobyl only exploded because the unchecked heat built up and hydrogen was produced. Chernobyl also did not have any containment chamber, or a cement-steel backed up structure that all American facilities are required to have. They gases ignited, but this was indirectly because of the nuclear fuel- the fuel itself did not explode. Radiation was only released because the gases were radioactive, and because the fuel rods were blown up too. A melt down is when the fuel becomes soo hot it begins melting through the containments, and the ground. People are still unsure what happens in a meltdown, besides massive releases of radioactivity, and contamination as well. Some people speculate the seering-hot fuel continues towards the center of the earth until the compression and heat is so much that it causes a fission, or thermonuclear explosion under the earth's crust.

By Bladen on 11/25/2006 7:13:42 AM , Rating: 2
There are two types of hydrogen bombs that I know of.

1. Fission -> fusion, "clean bombs". They may kill less people, but are designed to not contaminate the land, water, and atmosphere severely. These bombs use the fission reaction to start the fusion reaction.

2. Fission -> fusion -> fission, "dirty bombs". Designed to kill more, but radiates as much or more lingering rads than an standard atom bomb. . These bombs use the fission reaction to start the fusion reaction, but then there is a jacket of radioactive material again encompassing the hydrogen.

By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/4/2007 5:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
i'm not sure about the second you're referring to. A traditional "dirty bomb" is a conventional explosive surrounded by radioactive material. Made by those who want to maximize damage/contamination, but don't have the knowledge or know-how to make a real nuclear weapon.

By ADDAvenger on 11/24/2006 6:04:21 PM , Rating: 2
Chernobyl was the result of a crappy design plus badly trained operators. Basically as the reactor got hotter, it went faster which made it hotter until it melted. Nowadays all of everbody's reactors cool off as the reaction increases speed, which keeps the system in check. It doesn't mean you can just forget about it and it'll take care of itself, but it's far easier to control. Also, Chernobyl didn't even have a containment building, if they had, even with the screwups they did have, no radiation would have been released.

By Goty on 11/24/2006 11:26:22 PM , Rating: 2
The whole story I've always known about Chernobyl was that numerous safeguards were bypassed for an experiment that pretty much screwed everything over.

By Comdrpopnfresh on 11/25/2006 1:17:55 AM , Rating: 2
actually each country decides how their reactors work. In the US, all our reactors have a negative coefficient of reactivity, but russia's still have a positive coefficient of reactivity. the difference is that ones with a negative coefficient must be constantly adjusted to keep the reactor critical, and ones with a positive coefficient must be throttled back to keep from the reaction going off at unsafe rates. ones with a negative coefficient are safer because untouched, they will turn themselves off. The main problem with Chernobyl was that it was too big, and the technology didn't exist to change it using few people/ It needed lots of people monitoring lots of crappy gauges to adjust and determine it's state. It was so complicated that when a problem arose they couldn't determine where it is right away, let alone getting to it quickly, as all the primary and secondary systems are radioactive.

By defter on 11/25/2006 10:37:52 AM , Rating: 2
It's amazing that some people still seem to think that there happened some kind of nuclear explosion in Chernobyl... Don't they teach physics these days in schools?

always 20 years away
By slawless on 11/24/2006 7:58:19 PM , Rating: 5
How long will it take to control nuclear fusion?

1960: A vexing problem should take about 20 years...

1980: proving harder than we thought should take about 20 years...

2000: we are at the point of building the first prototype reactor that should lead the way to building commercial fusion reactors. This should take........about 20 years.

RE: always 20 years away
By sbanjac on 11/24/2006 8:41:09 PM , Rating: 2
I think that we will wait even more. But when its done this will be on of the greatest acomplishments of humankind. I hope that nobody would exploit this. I hope that we have learned from out mistakes.

RE: always 20 years away
By nineball9 on 11/25/2006 12:31:21 AM , Rating: 2
Nuclear fusion can and has been controlled. See Tokamak. However maintaining a controlled reaction and sustaining Q values are technology difficulties (among others) preventing the building of commercial fusion reactors. The ITER project is only an experimental device, so we still have a ways to go.

RE: always 20 years away
By Dare2Live on 11/25/2006 5:53:08 AM , Rating: 2
We can controll it since aprox 1980. 4example JET Tokomak in EU produces 16MW.

minor correction about the idea ...
By microcpu on 11/24/2006 5:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
"... The idea for ITER originated from the Geneva superpower summit in November 1985 where Premier Gorbachov, following discussions with President Mitterand of France, proposed to President Reagan that an international project be set up to develop fusion energy for peaceful purposes. The ITER-project subsequently began as a collaboration between the former Soviet Union, the USA, the European Union (via Euratom) and Japan. ..."

"...The USA temporarily withdrew from the project in 1999, to return in 2003. ..."


By KristopherKubicki on 11/24/2006 9:15:24 PM , Rating: 2
Corrected and thanks.


A commentary on commentaries
By dama on 11/26/2006 11:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
"Actually" and "correction" run rampant through the slalom of posts. It is also interesting most of the comments are about fission or fusion bombs when the source article is about a new kind of reactor. Is our race always going to choose bright, shiny weapons over bright, shiny energy sources? I wonder how many women saw 'bombs' instead of 'power sources' when they saw "fusion project". Or was it just us men craving & fighting over 'weapon'?

By Master Kenobi on 11/27/2006 11:18:06 AM , Rating: 2
Technology is devloped and matures because of competition, that competition is generally WAR. (See WW1, WW2, Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, etc....) Things like Jet Airplanes, Commercial Flight, Modern Aircraft Carriers, Rockets, Missiles, GPS, Precision Targeting, Helicopters, etc.......

Really, when you think about it, Wars and compeition with other countries to kick ass better has been at the center of Research & Development since the beginning of time.

By Le Québécois on 11/25/2006 6:21:03 AM , Rating: 3
ITER is just one of the first step in creating a real fusion reactor. The way ITER will works is not a perfect fusion reaction.

Normally a fusion reaction like the sun uses it's own energy to nourish istself. ITER is different. It needs to be feed a little amount of energy from an outside source to works. From what I remember ITER will produce around 500MW while needing an external source of energy of 50MW to works.

That's why ITER has no chance to go BOOM. The second something wrong would happend in the reactor a security system would cut ITER energy sources and the fusion reaction will simply stop. The heat needed for the fusion reaction to survive the way ITER works can't be reach without this oustide source.

It's not like a Fission reactor : when the fission begins, it nourish itself and if nothing is done to controle or to stop the reaction, it will continue to do so until it explodes.

In the future if we ever are able to produce a reactor that can feed itself without an outside that could be dangerous...but for now ITER, even at full power is no danger at all.

It is as simple as to pull the plug of the wall.

By slawless on 11/24/2006 7:42:42 PM , Rating: 2
Chernobyl is a really interesting story of stupidity. To make a long story very short. The people who ran Chernobyl wondered what would happen if a critical coolant pump failed. So they put the reactor in a bad situation and shut the pump off....... and they found out what happens.

Even that poorly designed reactor would still have been running today if it wern't for Stupidity.

As far as safty goes. fission reactors must stop fission from happening. Fusion reactors must make fusion happen. If fisson gets out of hand you get a Chernobyl. If fusion has a problem it stops.

So when will we have mr. fusion?
By corduroygt on 11/24/2006 11:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
I guess we won't be able to buy mr. fusion in 2015...

By ajfink on 11/25/2006 7:05:58 PM , Rating: 2
Anti-matter weapons, though still theoretical (but don't assume that means they haven't been designed), would be significantly more powerful than the horror an earlier poster seemed to try and express before he was informed they already exist.

This really is a big, big project, and I hope for its greatest success. Finally, something new. Before someone posts back, "well, it isn't that new, technically," I realize that, but it's the first of its kind.

The Forerunners
By TimberJon on 11/27/2006 12:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
We just need to stumble upon some derelict spaceship or forgotten technology from some spacefaring race.. Then perhaps we will finally own some technology that works.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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