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12 Aug 13 12:18

Nuclear power usually gets a bad press. The conventional wisdom is that it's fraught with too many risks. All very understandable after what happened in Fukushima, I suppose. But some take a very different view, saying that nuclear energy produced by fusion rather than fission should be counted as one of the key, sustainable energy sources of the future, along with solar and wind power.

And this body of opinion has also found concrete expression in the form of a powerful joint venture between the European Union, China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States.

The countries involved are conducting a massive scientific experiment to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source, and to lay the groundwork for the design and operation of the first electricity-producing fusion power plant.

The so-called ITER facility – the Latin word for the "the way" – has been gradually taking shape in southern France for over five years and is due for completion in 2018. According to a recent BBC report, the ITER construction project is currently the largest on the planet.

According to the ITER website, nuclear fusion is going to be "safe, environmentally-friendly and provide an almost limitless source of energy."

What do you think?

ITER - the way to new energy

ITER - the way to new energy

Category: Sustainable energy: Fracking

Location: France


Paritosh - 13 Aug 2013, 2:46 p.m.

I don't think, I only thank you Richard for sharing this peace of information!!! And thanks a million!!

Lab grown meat and limitless power supply... It'd all be a dream come true

Konrad Meisterhans - 20 Aug 2013, 9:19 a.m.

Nuclear fusion takes place at exremely high temperatures such as those in the core of the sun, ie several million degrees. In order to allow fusion to take place at lower, more manageable (but still very high) temperatures, it is technically performed with heavier Hydrogen isotopes, deuteriun and tritium. The latter is a radioactive isotope, which again leads to issues of radiation, containment and potential release to the environment.

Daniel Martin Eckhart - 21 Aug 2013, 7:59 a.m.

Reading up on this I can help be amazed at the scope of it all. "... creating a plasma of superheated gas reaching temperatures of more than 200 million C ..." Conditions of the sun - all of this can apparently only be contained through a massive circular magnet system. Makes me wonder about what powers this massive system ... is the idea that it'll power itself once it reaches the fusion stage?

Rolf - 28 Aug 2013, 3:34 p.m.

I agree with Richard: Anything nuclear gets a bad press today. To the point that we freeze as soon as we hear or read the word "nuclear" and an undeclared ban on furthering exploring the topics around "nuclear" shuts down our rational system. Luckily, I am an optimist and believe that there will be one point where we leave this inertia/panic about things nuclear behind us. Apart from this, so little has been invested in nuclear research over the last 20 years, at least here in Europe (only look at the imminent shortage of nuclear engineers) that I think it will still take decades until nuclear fusion is likely to be mastered. Remember the hype about it in the 1980s when it was said that nuclear fusion has been discovered in a simple lab? All turned out to be fake.

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