Feeds

30 nations sign international fusion reactor deal

ITER moves forward

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More than 30 countries today signed a deal greenlighting the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) - a €10bn project to be built in Cadarache, near Marseille, Reuters reports.

Those attending the signing ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, hosted by Jacques Chirac, were China, European Union members, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the US. Chirac declared: "If nothing changes, humanity will have consumed, in 200 years, most of the fossil fuel resources accumulated over hundreds of millions of years. It [ITER] is the victory of the general interest of humanity."

The plan behind ITER is, as The Register's Lucy Sherriff previously explained, 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.

According to the ITER blurb, the reaction device is "based on the tokamak* concept, in which a hot gas is confined in a torus-shaped vessel using a magnetic field. The gas is heated to over 100 million degrees, and will produce 500 MW of fusion power".

All well and good, but sceptics claim that a viable, commercial reactor is years away (35, at least) - if the technology works as advertised. China recently claimed to have test fired a tokamak fusion reactor in which "deuterium and tritium atoms had been fused together at a temperature of 100 million degrees celsius for nearly three seconds". Whether the boffins had to pump in more energy than they got out was not noted. ®

Additional technical info

*According to the The Internet Plasma Physics Education Experience's handy guide, a tokomak is:

The most successful and promising fusion confinement device...The word tokamak is actually an acronym derived from the Russian words toroid-kamera-magnit-katushka, meaning "the toroidal chamber and magnetic coil". This donut-shaped configuration is principally characterised by a large current, up to several million amperes, which flows through the plasma. The plasma is heated to temperatures more than a hundred million degrees centigrade (much hotter than the core of the Sun) by high-energy particle beams or radio-frequency waves.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.