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US to Join Negotiations on Major International Fusion Project


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#1 LifeisGood

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 03:13 AM

Princeton - Feb 06, 2003
President Bush has decided that the U.S. will join the negotiations for the construction and operation of a major international magnetic fusion research project, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced today. Known as ITER, the project's mission is to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy.
"This international fusion project is a major step towards a fusion demonstration power plant that could usher in commercial fusion energy," Secretary Abraham said.

"ITER also provides a cost-effective way to proceed with fusion research worldwide with the collaborating parties sharing in the project's cost of construction and operation." Secretary Abraham made the announcement during remarks to employees of the department's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, following a tour of the laboratory.

The Bush administration believes that fusion is a key element in U.S. long-term energy plans because fusion offers the potential for plentiful, safe and environmentally benign energy.

A fusion power plant would produce no greenhouse gas emissions, use abundant and widely distributed sources of fuel, shut down easily, require no fissionable materials, operate in a continuous mode to meet demand, and produce manageable radioactive waste.

ITER will provide 500 megawatts of fusion power for 500 seconds or longer during each individual fusion experiment. ITER will demonstrate essential fusion energy technologies in a system that integrates physics and technology and will test key elements required to use fusion as a practical energy source.

ITER will be the first fusion device to produce a burning plasma and to operate at a high power level for such long duration experiments. The fusion power produced in the ITER plasma will be 10 times greater than the external power added to the plasma.

Canada, the European Union, Japan and the Russian Federation are the current members of the collaboration who have been negotiating ITER construction and operation since last year. China has recently joined the negotiations as well.

Candidate sites in Canada, the European Union and Japan have been offered, one of which will be selected during the negotiation and governmental decision-making process.

The U.S. proposes to provide a number of hardware components for ITER construction, to be involved in the project construction management and to participate in the ITER scientific research and technology development.

The nature and details of the U.S. participation and contributions would be determined during the negotiations. DOE's Office of Science, which has extensive experience in large, international programs, will lead U.S. negotiations on ITER.

The construction cost for ITER, including buildings, hardware, installation and personnel, is estimated to be about $5 billion in constant 2002 dollars. However, since the cost will be shared among all of the parties, who will provide most of the components "in kind," the actual construction cost will be a combination of different amounts in different currencies.

The U.S. share of the construction cost is expected to be about 10 percent of the total. ITER could begin construction in 2006 and be operational in 2014. Fusion research would last for up to 20 years.

The Department of Energy commissioned three reviews of ITER in preparation for a Presidential decision on whether the U.S. should enter into negotiations on participation in the ITER project. A National Research Council report endorsed the ITER effort as an essential next step in the U.S. fusion energy research program.

Fusion is the energy source that powers the sun and stars. In fusion, the nuclei of light elements, such as hydrogen, fuse together to make heavier elements, such as helium, giving off tremendous amounts of energy.

ITER will use a "tokamak" concept -- a toroidal (doughnut-shaped) magnetic configuration -- to create and maintain the conditions for controlled fusion reactions on earth.

In ITER, superconducting magnet coils around a toroidal vessel will confine and control a mix of charged particles, called plasma, and induce an electrical current through it. Fusion reactions will take place when the plasma is hot enough, dense enough and contained long enough for the atomic nuclei in the plasma to start fusing together.
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#2 Odd

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Posted 02 March 2003 - 08:24 AM

Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 February, 2003, 15:15 GMT

US and China join fusion project

By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

ITER - NUCLEAR FUSION PROJECT

It will cost $5bn to construct and take 10 years
Final stage before a commercial reactor is built
Collaboration between EU, US, China, Russia, Canada and Japan
China and the US are officially joining the largest international science project of the next decade - excepting the International Space Station.
The project is the latest stage in the quest to develop fusion power - the energy source of the Sun and other stars.

Advocates say it could be cheap and environmentally friendly, though very expensive and time-consuming to develop.

Iter, the International Thermonuclear Energy Reactor, will be built over the next 10 years at a cost of about $5bn.

It will bridge the gap between current fusion reactors and the first ever commercial plant that could follow.

Delegations from China and the US joined those from Canada, the European Union, Japan and the Russian Federation at the Eighth Iter Negotiations Meeting held in Russia a few days ago.

The US had previously withdrawn from Iter negotiations undertaking a review of its fusion policy. Now, however, the US and China have declared their commitment to develop fusion energy as a potential source of energy.

Alternate energy sources

At the meeting, the Chinese delegation said that, as the largest developing country in the world, it has a great need to pursue alternative energy sources.

Dr Jerome Pamela of Jet (Joint European Torus, a European flagship fusion project based at Culham in Oxfordshire, UK), said: "China is probably the country in the world that has the largest needs for development of electrical power production."

POSSIBLE ITER SITES

Clarington, Canada
Cadarache, France
Vandellos, Spain
Rokkasho-mura, Japan


The US delegation reiterated President Bush's recent announcement that "the results of Iter will advance the effort to produce clean, safe, renewable, and commercially available fusion energy by the middle of this century."

US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said: "This international fusion project is a major step towards a fusion demonstration power plant that could usher in commercial fusion energy."

He added: "Iter also provides a cost-effective way to proceed with fusion research worldwide with the collaborating parties sharing in the project's cost of construction and operation."

Virtually inexhaustible

In a fusion reaction, energy is produced when light atoms are fused together to form heavier atoms.

To use fusion reactions 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. At these temperatures, the gas becomes a plasma.

Under these conditions, the plasma particles, from deuterium and tritium, fuse to form helium and high speed neutrons, releasing significant amounts of energy.

A commercial power station will use the heat generated by the neutrons, slowed down by a blanket of denser material (lithium), to generate electricity.

The fuels used are virtually inexhaustible. Deuterium and tritium are both isotopes of hydrogen. Deuterium is extracted from water and tritium is manufactured from a light metal, lithium, which is found all over the world.

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

Essential technologies

Iter would be the world's largest international cooperative research and development project next to the International Space Station.

The goal of Iter is to produce 500 megawatts of fusion power for 500 seconds or longer during each individual fusion experiment and in doing so demonstrate essential technologies for a commercial reactor.

Iter could begin construction in 2006 and be operational in 2014. Fusion research would last for up to 20 years.

The construction cost for Iter is put at about $5bn. However, the cost will be shared among all of the collaborators, who will provide most of the components in kind.

Iter officials are hoping to decide where the fusion reactor will be based within the next few years or so and have agreed to meet in Vienna in May.

------

The placement of the reactor will no doubt be a tricky political question. Russia has been one of the candidate countries but
is surprisingly not mentioned in this update!
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#3 LifeisGood

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Posted 02 March 2003 - 09:24 AM

Thanks for the news update Odd. I wonder if the scramjet will be up and running by then?
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#4 Odd

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Posted 02 March 2003 - 09:49 AM

"scramjet"

Are you thinking of hyper-speed jet propulsion with ionized hot air?
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#5 LifeisGood

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Posted 02 March 2003 - 10:51 AM

Yes

Scramjet
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#6 Odd

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Posted 02 March 2003 - 11:21 AM

That shot didn't look so great, better luck next try!
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#7 LifeisGood

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Posted 02 March 2003 - 11:31 AM

your funny:p
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#8 seanus

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 05:57 PM

http://www.asahi.com...0505070167.html
http://www.japantime...n20050507a3.htm
http://news.independ...sp?story=636306

seanus
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