ITER Fusion Power

ITER (originally the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is an international tokamak (magnetic confinement fusion) research/engineering project that could help to make the transition from today’s studies of plasma physics to future electricity-producing fusion power plants.

I have to confess that I’d never heard of this €10 billion megaproject in the south of France until recently when I stumbled across it in connection with another intriguing story about a new fusion device (Laser Inertial Fusion Energy, or LIFE — pretty catchy, huh?) being tested at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

It’s kind of exciting to think that such projects might hold the key to addressing much of our energy requirements at some point in the not too distant future (relatively speaking), but then, I’m a firm believer that mankind’s ingenuity will eventually arrive at technological solutions that will render carbon-based technologies obsolete for power generation.

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6 Comments

Filed under Energy, Europe, Technology

6 responses to “ITER Fusion Power

  1. Ontario was recently considered as a candidate for a fusion power experimental plant, but we wouldn’t pony up the huge bucks.

    I am a firm believer that we must pursue what we know instead of donning blindfolds and throwing our precious eggs at baskets we can’t see.

    By all means, do the research, but fusion power has been pursued for a long time now, without success.

  2. Well, fusion is what happens in hydrogen bomb (measured in equivalent megatons of TNT), which makes it so much bigger than an atomic bomb (measured in kilotons). We can already create fusion for some purposes, we just can’t control it or harness it for other purposes.

    I believe an h-bomb uses an a-bomb it get it started. The high temperatures and pressures created by the initial detonation of the a-bomb make fusion possible.

    Now we’re just trying to do it without using an a-bomb.

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  4. Mark — I would rather that resources be spent on this kind of research than pissed away on developing high-tech weapons or sunk into military hardware that eventually ends up as scrap metal parked in a desert someplace.

  5. crf

    Canada used to be member of ITER and pulled out (a decision of the Chretien government).

    We are apparently in a prolongued process of disengaging from all serious nuclear energy research and construction, and instead will spend money on carbon capture and storage and developing oil sands.

    We suck.

  6. I wasn’t aware of that. Seems like a very short-sighted decision on the part of the Chrétien government of the day.

    Speaking of carbon capture, there are some interesting projects in the works, but of course these are very expensive band-aids rather than any sort of truly innovative approach to energy generation.

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