Monday, June 7, 2010

ITER Meltdown

Posted by parallel

I have never been a supporter of ITER, the huge government run experiment to prove fusion is feasible. Bussard described it as a "cathedral to science." The long standing joke has been that the Russians gave us the Tokamak design to ensure we didn't get fusion power before they did. I prefer several of the small fusion programs, particularly the Polywell.

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) did not melt down from an excess of energy production. It is melting due to budget excesses.

It has been billed as the solution to tomorrow's energy crunch, but ITER, a massive fusion experiment by seven international partners, is under serious threat from a present-day problem: the financial crisis.

In a meeting on 26 May, the cash-strapped member states of the European Union (EU) were unable to agree on how to find the additional billions needed to finance construction of the giant reactor, which is sited near St-Paul-les-Durance, France. The EU is set to contribute 45% of the construction costs for ITER, which some estimates now put at €15 billion (US$19 billion) -- three times the 2006 cost estimate (see 'The ITER rollercoaster').

Left unresolved, the impasse in Europe will, at best, delay the project further. At worst, it could cause ITER to unravel entirely.

All the while Polywell Fusion and other small fusion programs are getting along on budgets 1/100th the size and are actually making progress towards answers.

You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

The American Thinker has a good article up with the basics.

And the best part? We Will Know In Two Years or less

http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2010/06/iter_meltdown.html

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