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The JT-60 Tokamak - Courtesy JAEA
JAEA gets us one step closer to positive fusion

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) just announced that its JT-60 Fusion Tokamak reactor nearly doubled the world record of tokamak plasma from 16.5 seconds to 28.6 seconds.  Nuclear physicists propose that once tokamak reactors can achieve approximately 400 seconds of plasma, the reactor will achieve a stable, sustainable nuclear fusion reaction.

The JT-60 tokamak is one of the largest tokamak reactors in operation today, and was the same reactor that set the previous fusion confinement time of 16.5 seconds.  The previous world record for plasma duration stood for two years.

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Why not America?
By proamerica on 5/10/2006 6:34:23 PM , Rating: 1
There was a time when Americans raced to the moon, we won. Still we are the only nation to have done this, and to think we did it well before the height of the computer age.

Where is America in this pursuit?

Every American should be beyond angry that its not us at the forefront of the development of fusion power. We are by far the richest nation on earth, and our energy companies have tens of billions on hand to research new energy technology but they don't do it.

Americas wealth is being wasted on the rich. Its being horded and blown on worthless materialistic shit, rather than reinvested in our society, rather being directed towards the development of our future.

Are we not smart enough in America? I know its not a matter of resources, but do we lack the brain power? I don't think we do, I think the people with the money lack the brain power. They lack the vision our the courage to devote themselves in the pursuit of anything but their own wellbeing.

I am embarassed and sickened by my country.

RE: Why not America?
By d4a2n0k on 5/10/2006 6:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
One word: Lobbyists

Its all about the money.

RE: Why not America?
By proamerica on 5/10/2006 7:09:15 PM , Rating: 2
Clearly. In fact, money has become and end unto itself. When in the past money was a means to an end.

RE: Why not America?
By d4a2n0k on 5/10/2006 7:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Today, the decisions are made by the people that give away the most private plane flights, golf trips and money for the next re-election.

This isnt about the Lib vs. Con BS. Both side are equally to blame.

The drug and oil companies have WAY too much say in whats done and when. The CEO's are only out for their next bonus ie. Lee Raymonds ridiculous $400 million bonus.

The technology is there and the brains are still there but they are growing cob-webs....

RE: Why not America?
By Eris23007 on 5/10/2006 7:53:22 PM , Rating: 3
Well then stop teaching your kids that they should go off and be a doctor or a lawyer. How about an Engineer or Scientist?

We graduate about 60000-70000 engineers a year in this country - not nearly enough.

I am angry - but not at "the rich" (and exactly how do you measure who is "rich" and who is simply "middle class"? The guy who makes $250K a year but scrapes by in order to own a house in silicon valley? Or the guy who makes $80K but lives like a king in the sticks?). I am angry at a culture that upholds sports players, celebrities, lawyers, etc. above the people who actually advance society - the engineers and research scientists who actually achieve these things.

Quit wasting your breath whining about "the rich" and try to solve the real problem.

RE: Why not America?
By vtohthree on 5/10/2006 8:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
That's exactly it, along the lines of "we are by far the richest nation"...and hence we have become very COMPLACENT, amoung many other things. "Why would we care about fusion if we have plenty of land to burry the toxic wastes of fission in Arizona?" Whereas in say...Japan, they do not have that luxury.

For the longest time why were we worried about fossil fuels when we had the money to dispose of, not saying this is the case of Japan or any other country making technological "breakthrough's", but it seems to be our attitude as Americans.

And yes, I agree, we need more Engineers, other than doctors and lawyers, I believe our nation is becoming dominated with the entertainment and glamour industry too, too busy spending the money rather than saving it to reinvest in our education.

RE: Why not America?
By proamerica on 5/10/06, Rating: 0
RE: Why not America?
By rudy on 5/11/2006 12:29:25 AM , Rating: 2
Ok guys cool down, the these fusion reactors are expensive, and the US has the most of them and many types. You think its bad here? they shut theres down in russia due to lack of funding thats sad the russians invented the tokamak. We are still really interested in fusion and the DOE amoung others poor plenty of money into it. You just have to understand that it takes years to construct them and millions to run them, billions in total. So now all countries are colaborating on things like ITER to lesson the load on a single country, the USA has a hand in just about every fusion reactor that goes up including money. The USA still spends more then anyone else on research in total. Some of the US reactors are old thats why they arent breaking records, when another level of research is done the US will build another tokamak, currenly they are working on other reactors like solid state lasers.

This doesnt have anything to do with rich people its just japan built one of the most recent ones therefore theres is one of the best, when ITER is done everyone will be talking about the french. And after that who knows maybe the US again. BTW in defense of the rich they pay the vast majority of US taxes, and people like bill gates dump tons of money into research usually they are interested in medical, but they aren't stingy what do you want them to do give it all away, like someone else would manage the money better.

RE: Why not America?
By Griswold on 5/11/2006 4:41:32 AM , Rating: 2
Can I get some of what you're smoking? :)

RE: Why not America?
By codeThug on 5/10/2006 10:49:58 PM , Rating: 2
Hey guys don't sweat it. We'll still get the technology. This is a collaborative effort. It was prolly hosted in Japan to keep the "Oil Pigs" from going ballistic. This is really good news.

RE: Why not America?
By Scabies on 5/11/2006 10:07:07 AM , Rating: 2
That is a good point as well. France will only have the testbed used to prove the theory, as well as develop ways to handle and harness this reaction. Energy produced by the ITER will not be transferred into any consumer power grid. A major issue is how new this technology is. We had no idea how bad radiation sickness would be as a result of nuclear fallout, who knows if sustained Tokamak reactors will leak some kind of caustic or hazardous materials, damaging itself and harming those that work with and live near it. As to who gets what, America will have scientists working there, along with the scientists from abroad. We should all breach the Fusion threshold at the same time.

But, yes it's sickening how much some people make. Some doctors gouge their patients, but then again some patients gouge their doctors (with lawyers!)

RE: Why not America?
By jskirwin on 5/11/2006 9:43:35 AM , Rating: 2
We graduate about 60000-70000 engineers a year in this country - not nearly enough.

If scientists and engineers are so highly prized, why do they make so little?

Whenever I see this myth, I just shake my head. People think that supply and demand don't apply to the labor market.

Kids are voting with their feet. Would you graduate $50k-70k in debt today and work in a field with a starting salary in the $20k's?

If lawyers weren't so prized, they wouldn't earn six figures. If people didn't buy the crap celebrities were selling (e.g. themselves) then they wouldn't earn the god-awful amounts of cash they do.

If you value engineers, hire them and pay them $100k/year. If you value teachers, go to your schoolboard and demand they be given better pay.

Put your money where your values are.

RE: Why not America?
By Eris23007 on 5/11/2006 10:34:37 PM , Rating: 2
Going to go backwards a bit.



If lawyers weren't so prized, they wouldn't earn six figures. If people didn't buy the crap celebrities were selling (e.g. themselves) then they wouldn't earn the god-awful amounts of cash they do.

I don't have a bit of a problem with celebs earning the cash they do - the movies/records/etc. they make produce substantial economic value; they deserve a cut of it.

The lawyers, on the other hand, I have a huge problem with - not necessarily because of the behavior of the individual lawyers (in some cases, honorable, with which I have no problem, but in other cases, downright disgusting), but because of the way in which the lawyers have exploited their substantial political influence in order to have laws written that support their taking an egregious cut of our gdp.

We as a society spend far more on litigation than other countries. Frankly I believe we need a sensible cap on damages awards - specifically a cap on what cut of an award may go to the various lawyers fighting over the case. Then we might avoid situations such as class action suit awards where the actual victims get a simple coupon for a free <whatever> but the lawyers get to split the tens of millions of dollars of legal fees. Simply a waste of economic resources.


If you value engineers, hire them and pay them $100k/year. If you value teachers, go to your schoolboard and demand they be given better pay.

Many engineers make that or more. The problem in my view is substantially one of image - people think of engineering as an unstable occupation where it is difficult to get and keep jobs. What they don't realize is that engineering is a very lucrative career field and one with outstanding long-term career options. More than half of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies hold engineering degrees.

In the shorter term, while there are occasionally down-cycles, engineering is actually quite a stable career field: in fact I have recently been receiving phone calls from recruiters searching for engineering talent - they are seeking me out, I didn't put out a resume or anything.

In fact, the salaries are already starting to rise. Just you wait 5 years, when the old guys start retiring - engineer salaries in this country are set to skyrocket because there just aren't enough young engineers around to do all the work that needs to be done. Outsourcing will cease to become a problem - it will become a necessity. Leaders in the field are already saying it, whether or not you all listen... but tell your kids to study hard. Engineering will be an extremely lucrative career field throughout the foreseeable future.

Particularly valuable, incidentally, are the engineers who help start companies. The richest people in this country, such as Bill Gates, are the ones who found companies that end up creating jobs for hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of people, such as in the case of Mr. Gates.

This is also the best argument (though certainly not the only argument) I can make, generally speaking, against the viewpoints of folks like "proamerica". Let's go to a few specifics:

There is only so much money in this country. Most of the money is in the possession of a tiny minority of the people. Sheer greed is all they know. Reinvesting that money in the country, in the purusit of something other than their materialistic whims is apparently impossible for them to fathom.

An out-and-out falsehood that displays zero understanding of how economics works. Where do you think the "rich" put their money? Do you think they stuff it in mattresses or hide it in safes? No. They invest it (yes, that word again) in the stock market, in bonds, or even just in a simple bank account. If they invest it in the stock market, they are providing money for companies who need to build new factories, create new jobs, and otherwise stimulate economic activity - increasing the money supply to all people and disseminating money to everyone involved in the economic system - ourselves included.

Bonds have the same net effect; they are simply a different funding vehicle for the same needs - building plants, buying equipment, developing new products. On the other hand, if they decide to invest in banks, they are providing the money supply that allows a bank to loan money to others, whether to buy cars (providing jobs for the engineers and technicians that design and build the cars) or houses (giving people a place to live and providing jobs for the architects, engineers, and craftsmen that build houses).

What you propose is logically inverted. You think that by creating engineers you create jobs for engineers? Obviously thats impossible, the jobs come first, that means the MONEY comes first. But the people with the money, the billionaire corporations, they have better things to do like give 100 million dollar bonuses to corporate execs so they can buy new yachts.

What I propose is to encourage our children to pursue training in a field that teaches them exceptionally valuable skills:
1) PROBLEM SOLVING - the essence of any engineering education
2) Critical thinking and analysis, and
3) a solid grounding in physics, math, etc., skills that are useful in many career fields other than just engineering - which is why trained engineers happen to be so good in so many other fields, including running large organizations.

People with undergraduate engineering training end up making great doctors and lawyers (shudder), too. Finally, if we have a sufficient supply of engineers, as demand for engineers increases (likely with an information-based economy, if we are successful at maintaining or even increasing the pace of technological innovation), perhaps a supply will be available to match with it.

As for the money part of your screed, as I have already shown, the only way exorbitantly rich folks harm the economy is if they keep the vast majority of their wealth in cash forms (which no exorbitantly rich person who hopes to *STAY* exorbitantly rich will do, as it makes no sense).

Not to mention the blatantly obvious fact that the status quo is their biggest money maker. As long as nothing changes for the oil companies they keep raking in the money. Ever wonder how oil is more expensive but oil companies make more money? Thats because they use the high prices of raw crude as an excuse to charge even more on top of the already increased price.

FUD. Gas prices are high because we lost a huge percentage of our refining capacity in the Hurricanes last year that has yet to come completely back online, coupled with government mandated ethanol formulations that are technically quite difficult to achieve. Low supply coupled with high demand = exorbitant prices. ECON 101. Take it - it will help you. You could force the big oil companies to sell the gas at below-market prices, but then you would have shortages - exactly what happened in the 1970s.

As for the profits of the large oil companies, ever look at their annual reports? Profits don't just go into some bank account, they go to one of two places, *by law*: either A) reinvesting into the business (such as exploration for new oil fields) or B) dividends to the stock holders, in which case either people reinvest that money back into that stock or others (most common) or use it to live on (e.g. retirees who live off investment income), in which case they are spending that money anyway, keeping it circulating through the economic system.

The rest of your rantings are simple FUD that I have already debunked in the previous. Plus I don't really want to waste any more time replying to someone whom I have no doubt will ignore my carefully constructed logic anyway - but that's ok, maybe someone else who isn't yet ideologically cemented in their beliefs will read this and learn something.

RE: Why not America?
By Eris23007 on 5/11/2006 10:38:30 PM , Rating: 2
Just to clarify on something - as I said I don't have a problem with the celebs making lots of money (as long as their works result in economic output that justifies such paydays - I have a huge problem with someone making $20mil for a movie that bombs).

My main problem is with the culture we have that holds up celebrities as people to emulate in all ways - TV shows where interviews with celebs who play characters in movies talk about how "heroic" that celeb was to play character X. The celeb wasn't heroic - the person they depicted was. The celeb was well paid to do a cushy job with lots of offtime. Great work if you can get it but nothing even close to heroic.

Lots more to say, but probably not necessary. I'm sure you get the idea...

Tokamak reactor? Cool.
By bersl2 on 5/10/2006 4:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
[insert obligatory Outpost reference]

RE: Tokamak reactor? Cool.
By Trippytiger on 5/10/2006 10:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
Obligatory? Did Outpost ever get that popular?

I have to admit, I always think of that game when I read about Tokamak reactors.

"Any mistake at this point will doom you and the colonists to certain death. Have a nice day."

RE: Tokamak reactor? Cool.
By LiamC on 5/10/2006 11:24:41 PM , Rating: 2
Damn, dredged that one up from the past

RE: Tokamak reactor? Cool.
By UNCjigga on 5/22/2006 4:35:29 PM , Rating: 2
My favorite pic of a tokamak reactor--it actually shows what the plasma field looks like to a naked eye!

RE: Tokamak reactor? Cool.
By Weaselsmasher on 5/10/2006 11:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
Obligatory: Wouldn't a Beowulf cluster of Tokamaks be cool!

...oh, wait, this isn't Slashdot... nevermind...

So how long.....
By marvdmartian on 5/10/2006 4:31:13 PM , Rating: 2
....before I can have my very own "Mr Fusion"???

RE: So how long.....
By Scabies on 5/10/2006 4:43:37 PM , Rating: 2
not to cross link... but
In theory, a comercially operating fusion reactor will be available some time in the 2030's. I like how the experimental plant will be in France... so if it explodes...
But this is stepping in the right direction towards cutting fossil fuels from electricity production, and greatly reducing nuclear waste by-product as compared to current fission reactors.

RE: So how long.....
By Scabies on 5/10/2006 4:44:46 PM , Rating: 2
and I dont mean commercially like wal mart, btw. I mean for electricity consumers (like my computer)

RE: So how long.....
By Knish on 5/10/2006 4:48:00 PM , Rating: 2
Well if plasma confinement can double every 2 years (as it has so far over the last 10) we could theoretically see 400s plasma confinements within 8 years.

RE: So how long.....
By Griswold on 5/10/2006 5:19:26 PM , Rating: 2
Dont hold your breath for a fusion reactor to blow up. Very unlikely to happen, as it a completely different thing than a fission reactor where you need a moderator to keep the reaction under control.

A Record?
By MMBeamer on 5/10/2006 7:51:11 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how this qualifies as a record. Tore Supra, which is designed as a quasi-steady state machine, has apparently run for over 6 minutes.
Maybe this a record for a pulsed tokamak?

RE: A Record?
By peternelson on 5/10/2006 10:08:47 PM , Rating: 2

It's been done before, fusion was already demonstrated in a jam jar without all this fancy equipment.


RE: A Record?
By codeThug on 5/10/2006 10:54:57 PM , Rating: 2

That is a vicious lie, and a completely irresponsible comment.

Everyone knows it was a peanut butter jar...

RE: A Record?
By KristopherKubicki on 5/10/2006 11:52:33 PM , Rating: 2
Very interesting link. I am under the understanding, however, that the fusion triple product for the Tore Supra is not high enough for a sustained fusion reaction, while the JT-60's FTP is. Whether or not that has something to do on the rankings I am not sure.

What is this?
By tjr508 on 5/11/2006 1:50:54 AM , Rating: 2
How is this different from the ignition that the NIF is working on with lasers?

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