18 Jun 2013

The ITER project - first realistic steps to clean nuclear fusion power?

ITER, a nuclear fusion project funded by many nations, is assembling the biggest nuclear fusion test reactor ever, in France. Due to "go nuclear" in the 2020s, this unit should produce 500MW for every 50MW put in as a result of the fusion process. Unlike nuclear fission, nuclear fusion has the potential for almost limitless nuclear energy without the radioactive waste risks associated with nuclear fission. Even with a successful project, commercial nuclear fusion reactors are unlikely until the second half of the 21st century.

A LOT is at stake here: nuclear fusion, if the technical issues are overcome, could be a saviour for the human race at a time when energy resources are likely to be in short supply at a time when demand will be at an all-time high.

Man's ingenuity is such that even the technical challenges of fusion will be overcome when the imperative is great enough. I have faith in the ability of scientists and engineers (and even in politicians) to come up with the solutions in time to help produce a better world for my children and grandchildren.  It's just a pity I shall not be around to see it.

1 comment:

Holger Schurig said...

Hi Roger,

AFAIK nuclear fission reactors still have radioactive problems.

The Trition, for example, is radioactive.

The emmitted neutron can be catched by other atoms, making them radioactive. If we could fusion Bor and a proton, we wouldn't get radioactivity out, but that would need 10x the temperature and 500x of "stable" time (where the two objects are near enought).