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Europe and Japan in heated clash over fusion reactor
The Observer (U.K.) ^ | 12/12/04 | Robin McKie and Angela Saini

Posted on 12/11/2004 6:38:23 PM PST by Pokey78

A battle has broken out over plans to build a reactor that could harness 'fusion power', source of the sun's energy, for humanity. European politicians and scientists want to construct a fusion plant in France. But the Japanese are insisting they should be hosts for the £3 billion project.

The row has caused a major diplomatic split: the EU, Russia and China want the International Tokamak Experimental Reactor (Iter) to be constructed at Cadarache in France, while the US, South Korea and Japan want to have it at Rokkasho-mura in Japan. The winner is likely to gain expertise in a technology that could save the planet.

'The chances of Iter working are only 50-50,' said Professor Ian Fells, a former science adviser to the World Energy Council. 'But fusion power would produce little radioactivity, no carbon dioxide, run on fuels that are easy to get and provide the world with most of its electricity requirements for hundreds of years.'

The sun burns by squeezing together the nuclei of hydrogen atoms to create helium nuclei, releasing vast amounts of energy but needing temperatures exceeding 10 million degrees Celsius. Engineers have worked out that the most promising method for containing super-hot hydrogen plasma is within a powerful, doughnut-shaped magnetic field. Such a power plant, a Tokamak reactor, burns hydrogen isotopes called deuterium and tritium to create helium and streams of neutrons that provide the plant's energy.

Small-scale trials have proved successful, such as the fusion reactor Jet (Joint European Torus) at Culham in Oxfordshire, which generated 16 megawatts of power - but soaked up 25 megawatts of electricity to run its magnetic fields and heat its deuterium and tritium plasma.

'It is really just an issue of scale,' said Sir Chris Llewellyn-Smith, head of Culham's fusion programme. 'If we create a reactor that can hold a thousand cubic metres of deuterium and tritium, 10 times more than Jet, we should be able to generate up to a gigawatt of power, the same as big coal-powered generators - which pump out carbon dioxide and spread acid oxides and particulates.' The bigger reac tor would generate much more power than it would consume.

Europe and Japan have each raised their stakes to 50 per cent - on condition they become the host. Last month negotiations ended without a resolution. They are due to restart, but it may take months to reach a decision.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Germany; Government; Japan; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 12/11/2004 6:38:24 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
I think this one might well become two projects.

I would certainly rather have the Japanese doing the engineering rather than the French.

2 posted on 12/11/2004 6:41:06 PM PST by snowsislander
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To: Pokey78
Can't Japan and the United States just build one ourselves. Its not like the Eurotrash, Chicoms, or the Ruskans are going to put much money into it.
3 posted on 12/11/2004 6:42:26 PM PST by bahblahbah
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To: Pokey78; All

I didn't think the US was participating in this project... Is that incorrect?


4 posted on 12/11/2004 6:44:12 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Pokey78

Build two, and let's see which one works first. I'd bet on the US/Korea/Japan plant.


5 posted on 12/11/2004 6:45:37 PM PST by McGavin999 (George Soros just learned a very expensive lesson-America can't be bought.)
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To: Pokey78

I hope it build in UK .


6 posted on 12/11/2004 6:46:11 PM PST by iso
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To: snowsislander
French= Militant Islamists. At least that's who will control the country before long.

Japan will still have a country because they have a sane immigration policy and insist would-be citizens prove not only the ability to be self-supporting but to get along with the native Japanese.

7 posted on 12/11/2004 6:46:23 PM PST by Vigilanteman (crime would drop like a sprung trapdoor if we brought back good old-fashioned hangings)
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To: Pokey78

Please, may the Japanese get the reactor contract and not the French!


8 posted on 12/11/2004 6:49:17 PM PST by xJones
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To: Pokey78
"It is really just an issue of scale,' said Sir Chris Llewellyn-Smith, head of Culham's fusion programme.
The bigger reac tor would generate much more power than it would consume."

No not exactly. The more Dueterium and Tritium you pump in the bigger the plasma and the bigger the magnetic field that would have to be in order to encompass the plasma. Also the more power the NBI lasers need to superheat the plasma. It is not as simple as "Oh make it bigger and we get positive power returns" Theoretically there is a point at which we should be able to get more power out than we put in but nobody knows where that is and how to get there... Not saying it shouldn't be explored because it needs to be. But that scientist shouldn't make it sound so simple.

All that said this is awesome stuff.
9 posted on 12/11/2004 6:51:29 PM PST by Syntyr
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To: Pokey78
At this point, we should just go it alone. Throw as much money into it as it takes. This isn't an economic issue anymore, but a matter of national security. We need fusion (and hydrogen fuel cells) as soon as possible, so that we can stop giving trillions of dollars to people who want to see us dead.
10 posted on 12/11/2004 6:52:04 PM PST by Physicist
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To: snowsislander

France is like that mean little girl on rug rats**

John


11 posted on 12/11/2004 6:52:55 PM PST by jrfaug06
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To: Pokey78

While EU have considered to build ITER on their own and depart from the international agreement, ambassador of Japan in France criticized that the action was against multinational partnership, a concept which European countries have cried many times for against the US in Iraq War. Now the EU is one step close practicing unilateralism on their own.


12 posted on 12/11/2004 6:54:30 PM PST by Wiz
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To: Physicist

Aren't there a couple of small fusion test beds in the US already?


13 posted on 12/11/2004 6:55:54 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Physicist

Nah, let them blow their money on trial and error until we know it will work for certain, then we copy it.


14 posted on 12/11/2004 6:58:12 PM PST by flying Elvis
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To: Texas_Jarhead

May you give me some information about that ?

Thanks .


15 posted on 12/11/2004 6:59:54 PM PST by iso
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To: iso

Not sure which of my posts you are referring to but either way I don't have any more info to offer. I was kind of looking for some feedback myself...


16 posted on 12/11/2004 7:01:47 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Pokey78

I haven't really looked into this for a couple of years, but I doubt whether they will produce anything workable or economically feasible for quite a few years. It's still uncertain whether it can be done, although I agree that we should continue to pursue it.

The last country that should be allowed to control this project is France, in any case.


17 posted on 12/11/2004 7:11:27 PM PST by Cicero (Nil illegitemus carborundum est)
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To: bahblahbah

Well said!


18 posted on 12/11/2004 7:15:46 PM PST by Whitebread
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To: Texas_Jarhead

Haven't kept up with the latest, but last I heard, Lawrence Livermore has a small Tokomak that they ware experimenting with.


19 posted on 12/11/2004 7:37:44 PM PST by semaj ("....by their fruit you will know them.")
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To: Tealc
Maybe we could use Naqada.


20 posted on 12/11/2004 7:46:33 PM PST by raybbr
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To: Pokey78

Great Fusion resource

http://www.radwaste.org/fusion.htm


21 posted on 12/11/2004 8:48:18 PM PST by Syntyr
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To: Pokey78

Give it to our Japanese allies. They've always been better at everything than the Europeans. (Japan was the only Asian nation to successfully resist every attempt at European domination and colonization. America doesn't count - we are NOT Europeans, and they started the fight with us.)


22 posted on 12/12/2004 1:30:58 AM PST by FierceDraka ("Megatons Make It Fun!")
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To: Physicist
I agree completely. If we could create this technology and move over to Electric cars if would solve half of our problems.
23 posted on 12/12/2004 1:36:18 AM PST by TheTwelvePack
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To: Pokey78
Europe and Japan in heated clash over fusion reactor

Here's an idea... fuse them!


24 posted on 12/12/2004 2:03:34 AM PST by Nick Danger (Want some wood?)
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To: 4mycountry; asgardshill; Cloud William; Frank_Discussion; Monkey Face; Rastus; raybbr; Rebelbase; ..


Maybe we could use Naqada.

Who needs Naaquadah? We have plenty ZPMs lying about. :)


25 posted on 12/12/2004 11:17:56 AM PST by Tealc (Mail me if you want on or off my Jaffa, Kree! ping list)
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To: Tealc

Yes, but they are built for use on other planets. We might get only a few hours worth out of them before they quit.


26 posted on 12/12/2004 11:24:54 AM PST by Rebelbase (Who is General Chat?)
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To: Rebelbase

As long as it's enough to power a car stereo. :)


27 posted on 12/12/2004 11:34:04 AM PST by Tealc (Mail me if you want on or off my Jaffa, Kree! ping list)
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To: Tealc

You know what I always say: If all else fails, put a few colorful crystals in it to make it go. Yep!


28 posted on 12/12/2004 1:34:52 PM PST by 4mycountry ("We don't have 'Happy Holidays' aroud here. We have MERRY DADBURN CHRISTMAS!" - Chris Kirk)
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