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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Breaking Sci News :: Fracne chosen over Japan to host 6.6BN "nuclear fusion" project

    Article extract >>

    France will get to host the project to build a 10bn-euro (6.6bn) nuclear fusion reactor, in the face of strong competition from Japan.
    The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) will be the most expensive joint scientific project after the International Space Station.

    The Iter programme was held up for over 18 months as parties tried to broker a deal between the two rivals.

    Nuclear fusion taps energy from reactions like those that heat the Sun.

    Nuclear fusion is seen as a cleaner approach to power production than nuclear fission and fossil fuels.

    Officials from a six-party consortium signed the deal in Moscow on Tuesday, for the reactor's location at the Cadarache site in southern France.

    Janez Potocnik, EU commissioner for science and research, said that Iter "marks a major step forward in international science cooperation".

    He added: "Now that we have reached consensus on the site for Iter, we will make all efforts to finalise the agreement on the project, so that construction can begin as soon as possible."

    Rich reward

    The European Union, the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea and China are partners in the project.

    Japan earlier withdrew its bid, after a deal was worked out for the "runner-up" to receive a generous concessions package.

    According to the package, Japan will get 20% of the project's 200 research posts while providing only 10% of the expenses, and host a related materials research facility - of which half the construction costs will be shouldered by the EU.

    French President Jacques Chirac thanked member countries of the European Union, as well as Russia and China, who crucially lent their support to the French bid: "It is a big success for France, for Europe and for all the partners of Iter," he said in a statement.

    Prof Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, director of UK Atomic Energy Authority's (UKAEA) Culham division, which is responsible for the UK's thermonuclear fusion programme, called the decision "wonderful news".

    "Rapid construction of Iter will be a major step in the development of fusion as a potential large-scale source of electricity that will not contribute to climate change," he added.

    Earthbound star

    The Cadarache site lies about 60km (37 miles) inland from Marseille, and has been a nuclear research centre ever since president Charles de Gaulle launched France's atomic energy programme in 1959.

    Local politicians were delighted by the announcement, because it will guarantee thousands of jobs over the coming years.

    However, some environmental groups are doubtful about the viability of nuclear fusion, and have warned that Cadarache lies on a known earthquake faultline. The management at Cadarache insists there is no risk to existing or future installations.

    In terms of the physics and huge amounts of energy involved, the Iter project would be akin to building a star on Earth.

    It would be the first fusion device to produce thermal energy at the level of conventional electricity-producing power stations, and would pave the way for the first prototype commercial power station.

    In a fusion reaction, energy is produced when light atoms - the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium - are fused together to form heavier atoms.

    To use controlled fusion reactions on Earth as an energy source, it is necessary to heat a gas to temperatures exceeding 100 million Celsius - many times hotter than the centre of the Sun.

    The technical requirements to do this, which scientists have spent decades developing, are immense. But the rewards, if Iter can be made to work successfully, are extremely attractive.

    One kilogram of fusion fuel would produce the same amount of energy as 10,000,000 kg of fossil fuel.

    Fusion does produce radioactive waste but not the volumes of long-term high-level radiotoxic materials that have so burdened nuclear fission.

    End extract <<

    For source page and realted articles :: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4629239.stm

    For video report :: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4629239.stm#

    For background info :: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/h...tor/html/1.stm

    *Project estimated to cost 10bn euros and will run for 35 years
    *It will produce the first sustained fusion reactions
    *Final stage before full prototype of commercial reactor is built

    Well it's about bloody time. Politically some countries might not be happy with the choice, America to name but one, but i'm just gald that a decision ahs been made and we can ge the show on this road.

    Along with renewable sources this will be the key to providing for our future energy needs.

    Science Fiction becoming Science Fact.

    Opinions?? Comments??

    Critic,
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  2. #2
    I think it might be a bit better if they put it in a rural area (read: russia/northern canada) with good road access. Putting it in the middle of Europe seems... foolhardy.

  3. #3
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    You mean on safety grounds i take it?

    If either of the countries you suggested had put forward a proposal and it was good enough, not to mention politically acceptable, i'm sure it would have been in the final run off.

    France alread had many conventional nuclear reactors, public opposition in regard to safety or envirnonmental impacts doesn not exist like in other countries. I'm really quite opptomistic for the iTER, i just hope i'll witness the first series of commercial reactors being intoduced in Britain in my life time, preferably while i still ahve osme life left in me.

    Critic,
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    "Act with honour, seek justice, die true, remembered well."
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  4. #4
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    fusion reactor?

    is a fusion reaction controlable and attainable without nuclear fission as an initiation?

  5. #5
    I would think that it was smart of the Japanese to give way. Afterall, why should they risk another Nagasaki/Hiroshima fallout with the handsome benefits already promised.
    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by JYC
    fusion reactor?

    is a fusion reaction controlable and attainable without nuclear fission as an initiation?
    Put simply, i don't know.

    Originally posted by qoheleth
    I would think that it was smart of the Japanese to give way. Afterall, why should they risk another Nagasaki/Hiroshima fallout with the handsome benefits already promised.
    Yes there is that risk i suppose, however there have been smaller prototypes before now and there were no accidents or major threats to public safety [as far as i know].

    Japan did really want this, America really wanted Japan to host the reactor but as you said, the benefits will be open to all once the project is complete. Although the host of iTER, it is expected, will ahve a bit of a "leg up" in expertise terms and other advantages in the early years.

    Critic,
    The 9 words of life quote -
    "Act with honour, seek justice, die true, remembered well."
    GO LDN 2012 ~ AIM = Critic News Info

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