Feeds

France wins billion dollar fusion research plant

Clean energy

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

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

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.