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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. 

The BBC
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 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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