Print 49 comment(s) - last by vampares.. on Jun 15 at 10:56 PM

Fusion reactors, here we come!

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), an experimental nuclear fusion reactor, has officially been approved by seven international parties during a meeting in Belgium. The list of international parties includes the United States, European Union, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and India.  The project will cost an estimated $5.9B USD, and is also the world's biggest scientific collaboration. 

reports "We represent more than half of the world's population, and recognize that by working together today we stand a much better chance of tackling the challenges of tomorrow, so energy is an issue of concern for all of us," according to the  EU science and research commissioner, Janez Potocnik.

The end result of the experimental fusion project should be a cheaper, cleaner and safer source of energy.  Global oil demand and greenhouse gas emissions will also theoretically drop if the nuclear fusion reactor is successful.  Fusion is a viable energy source because of natural abundance and availability, while no greenhouse gas emissions will be present.  Another advantage of fusion is that it will not produce any radioactive waste. 

But not everyone is pleased with the news.  Several environmental groups are against the project.  For example, one of the members of the Friends of the Earth group believes it would be a wiser choice to invest in renewable energy and energy conservation.

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RE: Error
By llbbl on 5/26/2006 9:47:29 AM , Rating: 2
hey guys don't think Spiderman will save you if you fuck this up!

RE: Error
By Boboche on 5/26/2006 12:03:13 PM , Rating: 3
Fusion, as opposed to standard nuclear reactor, is not prone to have any bad chain reactions effects.

If something "fucks up", like you say, the reaction just stops and the H30 or other "plasma'ed" material used, will simply drop back to it's solid form and do "plop!" on the floor.

This is the good thing about this technology. The hard thing is to be able to manipulate it with magnetic fields, it requires tremendeous current to ignite the plasma with pulsed lasers, a lot of cost for infrastructure (thing giant magnet, costly high-power pulse lasers, etc).

Probably the first beta will be able to get 1:1 energy, as in be self-sufficient, but it will be a good step, because most projects so far were under-funded or a complete failure.

That thing in spiderman was just a big "bird flu" panic scenario based on science fiction and the average paranoid person.

When I see environmentalist groups being against the development of such technologies, and proning "conservation" and "renewable sources", I think that they are totally short sighted and live in a bubble-world.

The world is expanding, energy consumption is going up, you can't stop this trend with emerging countries, what you can do with "environmental-friendly" measure is damp that effect, not stop it. You need a nuclear solution without the risks involved by nuclear, Fusion is the answer.

All the windmill you'd need to deliver the world's energy need, you'd have no more forests, the earth would look like a big birthday party with shitloads of helixes everywhere, that's not what you want either right? So think future, think clean and safe energy, and think environment on stuff that you can actually DO something realistically about (Cars, your personnal level of energy consuption, promote local alternative energy projects for smaller regions, which is suitable, but not for massive urban areas...), etc..

RE: Error
By Xenoid on 5/26/2006 1:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
We need to make a form of energy using absurdly powerful forms of magnetism which can be located on an island in the Pacific.

Ok but seriously, this can only be good. But I have a question. Why is it that I never see Canada on these lists? Since when are we not an important country, or is it that our government (not depending on who is in at the time), not taking initiative?

RE: Error
By stephenbrooks on 5/26/2006 2:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
I thought Canada was a member of the ITER collaboration at some stage, but pulled out a few years ago. The US also had pulled out funding at one point but have since joined back in.

RE: Error
By vampares on 6/15/2006 10:56:22 PM , Rating: 2
"Probably the first beta will be able to get 1:1 energy, as in be self-sufficient, but it will be a good step, because most projects so far were under-funded or a complete failure."

This is kind of the blessing of the sun. The gravitational force from its own mass acts as the generative energy. Not to say that fusion can't be terribly useful. Just not for energy production on earth at reasonable scale. To say that it gets a 1:1 efficency, that energy to run the fusion reactor does not come entirely from the fuel in a direct manor as is it does with fission. The energy it then releases has to be then imparted upon an electrical system. There is plenty of energy being released from the core of the earth right now and few have successfully harnessed it. Imagine trying to capture and enormous amounts of energy with giganitc magenets and lasers and housing around it and not frying everything in the process. In space the production of solar panels becomes much easier (theoretically), so there isn't a lot of usage potenial there either.

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