Feeds

France wins billion dollar fusion research plant

Clean energy

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The European Union announced yesterday that the world's largest ever fusion reactor will be built in France, at a total cost of around $12bn.

Competition to secure the 30-year International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project has been intense, but Japan withdrew its bid last week leaving the floor open for the French bid. The US and South Korea has been supporters of the Japanese bid, but the French option had the backing of the EU, China and Russia.

The ultimate goal of the project is to finally crack the problem of how to tap into the immense power of nuclear fusion. Fusion is the same process that goes on in the centre of the sun, and it holds the promise of almost inexhaustible, clean safe energy generation.

For nuclei to fuse, a plasma needs to be heated up to several hundred million degrees while it is contained within an intense magnetic field. The trick will be finding a way of doing this without putting in more energy than is generated.

The problem is that the solution is always, and has always been 25 (or so) years away.

The details of how the project will be financed have still got to be hashed out, but the EU is expected to pick up 40 per cent of the tab, France a further 10 per cent, with the remainder shared between the other international partners: the US, Russia, Japan, South Korea and China.

Once the facility has been built, experiments are expected to start in about 2015. The research is likely to continue for around 20 years.

In the best case scenario, a demonstration plant would be built in 2030, with the technology being developed commercially by the middle of the century. ®

Related stories

UCLA demonstrates desktop nuclear fusion
Brits bet on gravity wave discovery
Astronomers weigh ultra-cool brown dwarf

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.