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Page added on August 9, 2013

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‘Safer’ nuclear fusion comes closer to reality

Alternative Energy

The world’s bid to harness the power of fusion, the Iter project at Cadarache in Provence, has now entered a critical phase in southern France.

The project is set to receive the first of about one million components for its experimental reactor.

The project is about two years behind the schedule because of massive cost rises and long delays, the BBC reported.

The construction of the key building has been altered to allow for the late delivery of key components.

Since the 1950s, fusion has offered the dream of almost unlimited energy – copying the fireball process powering the Sun – which is fuelled by two readily available forms of hydrogen.

The Iter reactor will now put that to the test. Known as a “tokamak,” the project is based on the design of Jet, a European pilot project at Culham in Oxfordshire and will involve creating a plasma of superheated gas, which reaches the temperatures of more than 200 million C.

The whole process is going to take place inside a giant magnetic field in the shape of a ring.

The plant at JET has bee able to achieve fusion reactions in very short bursts but has required more power than it was able to produce.

The reactor at Iter is on a much grander scale and has been designed to generate 10 times more power – 500 MW – than it will consume.

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7 Comments on "‘Safer’ nuclear fusion comes closer to reality"

  1. Arthur on Fri, 9th Aug 2013 1:42 pm 

    India ia a stakeholder in the project.

  2. Mike on Fri, 9th Aug 2013 5:37 pm 

    It’s going to be a laugh watching this thing fail over and over and over again for the next 20 years. The more it fails the more desperate everyone will be to make it work

  3. rollin on Fri, 9th Aug 2013 5:38 pm 

    Why is the word safer in quotes? Does the author not understand fusion?

  4. GregT on Fri, 9th Aug 2013 5:41 pm 

    Just because India is a stakeholder, does not automatically mean it will be successful.

  5. actioncjackson on Fri, 9th Aug 2013 8:06 pm 

    I hate to say it but even if they get it working it’s still a drop in the bucket of the energy demanded by the current configuration of society. Bringing a bunch of these things online won’t stop the collapse because they won’t be able to provide enough energy to replace that derived from oil. I don’t see them being able to transition from using huge diesel powered machines and oil intensive, complex fabrication processes to being able to build with entirely electrical processes and equipment. Without oil, this is a dream.

  6. LT on Sat, 10th Aug 2013 12:26 am 

    “The plant at JET has been able to achieve fusion reactions in very short bursts but has required more power than it was able to produce.”

    >> I said of this before. It works because the input energy is always higher than the output energy, which is complying with the second law of thermodynamics. Which also means thermo- efficiency is always less than 1.

    But as soon as they attempt to make this thermo-efficiency 1 or greater than 1. They attempt to defeat the second law of thermodynamics, in creating a perpetual machine.

    In short, fusion is a perpetual machine:
    One can’t get more than what one puts in.

  7. jjhman on Sat, 10th Aug 2013 12:37 am 

    I don’t think a fusion reaction violates the second law. Last time I looked the sun was still functioning.

    It was a long time ago (the 1970s)that I worked on a fusion program. At that time we had serious doubts about the ability of materials to tolerate the 14 MeV neutrons that were flying about. I suspect that their Tokamak reactor will have to get to just about the size of the sun to get a net positive energy output. It should be pretty clear by now that even if they can get one of these things to work that the capital cost will make it impracticable.

    But they they said that about the Wright brother’s airplane and eleven years later the combatants were shooting each other out of the sky by the hundreds. Go figger.

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