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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: Holy grail?
By vingamm on 5/26/2006 12:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
Let me chime in with you NRB. Mine is not in Physics but in electro-engineering and computer science. you are right. this is a feasibility study. It is one that needs to be taken as well. Fossil fuels have almost ruined the enviroment, fission produces highly toxic waste that is active for hundreds of years. A fusion reactor will get "hot" but lets be honest with ourselves. How long can we use the current systems of energy production. To the tree huggers I add, there are over 6 billion people on this planet and the number is not getting smaller. if we dam up all the rivers, where will the fish swim? If well put up a million windmills, where will the trees grow? If the put up solar mirrors we will eventually block out the sun. We could go back to living in caves and just say screw technology all together but I am guessing each and every one of you enjoys your AC from time to time. If this was just a individual choice it would be cool to suggest some of those choices. Fusion is the best choice so far. If you have a viable solution that can serve 6 billion plus people let the WEC know and I think they may consider it.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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