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Science

Giant International Fusion Reactor Draws Nearer 967

Posted by michael
from the down-to-the-wire dept.
nnnneedles writes "BBC is reporting that scientists are deciding on where to build the world's first big fusion reactor. The international effort is described as the boldest nuclear initiative since the Manhattan Project, and holds promise for future unlimited, clean energy. The choice on where to build the reactor currently stands between Japan and France, but apparantly, the U.S. is opposing a french site because France opposed the war in Iraq." There's also an AP story.
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Giant International Fusion Reactor Draws Nearer

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  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) * on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:03PM (#7774354) Homepage Journal
    is eating at French restaurants in DC these days.

    Time to move on.
  • by tealover (187148) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:04PM (#7774360)
    Last time I checked, Canada, Russia and China preferred the Japanese site. And I seem to recall they all opposed the Iraq War.

    The site selection has nothing to do with anyone's position on Iraq or else France would have the support of the other countries as well. As it stands, they only have the support of the EU for typical reasons.

    • by Ataraxy Oyez (729472) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:08PM (#7774382)
      Everyone opposed the Iraq war, even Britain. The only difference is a handful of chicken countries (Britain being the largest) cow-towed for financial or political reasons because the U.S. wields the biggest stick.
    • by c_oflynn (649487) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:21PM (#7774482)
      Umm... perhaps time to RTFA?

      It SPECIFICALLY says this (after saying that Canada et al. support the Japan site):

      The US, in particular, has raised objections to the French option, citing its opposition to the Iraq invasion.
      • That's it (Score:4, Funny)

        by WTFmonkey (652603) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:38PM (#7774606)
        I'm sick of this. I'm buying an island and starting my own government. The educational system will consist of science classes only. No Law School, literature class will focus on scientific texts and technical writing, and history will be the history of science. They will not avoid politics entirely (to do that would be foolish) but they will analyzed in scientific ways and conclusions drawn about what would be best in a theoretical framework. The industries will be well beyond state-of-the-art and we'll release projects to the global community if we determine that humanity is ready for them. We keep the cool toys until then.

        We'll basically be like the Tlulaxu and Ixians, but without all the shape-shifting. All I need is money to buy the island and a tech base. Who's with me? I'll set us up a paypal account.

        • Re:That's it (Score:3, Interesting)

          by goon america (536413)
          They will not avoid politics entirely (to do that would be foolish) but they will analyzed in scientific ways and conclusions drawn about what would be best in a theoretical framework

          I think you're sort of missing the point. The question is, why do some people find bad arguments so persuasive? And, there is plenty of existing literature on the subject, in linguistics, psychology, behavioral economics -- Daniel Kahneman one a Nobel prize last year for basically addressing that question.

        • by utahjazz (177190) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:55PM (#7775099)
          I'm sick of this. I'm buying an island and starting my own government.

          Ok, so is your island for or against the war in Iraq?
        • Re:That's it (Score:4, Interesting)

          by SurgeonGeneral (212572) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:38PM (#7775335) Journal
          Let me tell you a short story about a man named John Stuart Mill. His father was a Benthamite, and raised John according to Benthamite principles. He was to be the "perfect Benthamite". This ideal of child rearing is very close to the one you just mentioned. No philosophy, no literature, no poetry or creative writing. From the age of 3 he began a home-school regimen of logic, mathematics, history, geography, engineering and subjects like that.

          At the age of 20, unable to handle such an emotionless and empty existence without any symbolic meaning or structure John Stuart Mill had a severe nervous breakdown. Fortunately before the depression and anxiety led to his much contemplated suicide, he happened upon the Romantic poets and their praise of life and its beauty. He credits them with having allowed him to face life and give it meaning. You will note that many religions have done the same thing for people.

          People have had your wish in the past, and it has turned out to be false. Creativity, emotion and spirituality, though not rational, are important components of human existence. You may think you can live without them, but its been proven time and time again that the vast majority of people, even the most brilliant, simply cannot. You may not understand why, but your education has incorporated these things into your life and buttressed your existence.

          Irrationality and chaos are fundamental aspects of life.

          .
          • Re:That's it (Score:3, Interesting)

            Is it possible that the sphere of science and technology has expanded so much since the Benthamites that one actually could enjoy a healthy and creative life, full of symbolic meaning and structure, in pure science and technology? Music and literature are awesome, I wouldn't want to live on Super Technocrat Island of Technofun as proposed here, but given that humanity survived for millions of pre-historic years without music, literature, or science, it seems probable that one could survive with one of the
            • Re:That's it (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Daetrin (576516)
              but given that humanity survived for millions of pre-historic years without music, literature, or science, it seems probable that one could survive with one of the three.

              A: There are 10,000 year old cave paintings that show that humans were artistic, and probably spiritual, beings long before they were scientific beings. I suspect that the tradition continues long before we have any record of it. For as long as we've had brains sufficiently complicated that emotional well being was an important concern, w

            • Re:That's it (Score:3, Insightful)

              Is it possible that the sphere of science and technology has expanded so much since the Benthamites that one actually could enjoy a healthy and creative life, full of symbolic meaning and structure, in pure science and technology? Music and literature are awesome, I wouldn't want to live on Super Technocrat Island of Technofun as proposed here, but given that humanity survived for millions of pre-historic years without music, literature, or science, it seems probable that one could survive with one of the t
    • by stevesliva (648202) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:22PM (#7774493) Journal
      The site selection has nothing to do with anyone's position on Iraq or else France would have the support of the other countries as well. As it stands, they only have the support of the EU for typical reasons.
      The Spanish opposition disagrees-- they say that the EU selected the French site because of politics. The NY Times mentions here [nytimes.com] that the Spanish political losers think Spain's support of the war in Iraq killed the chances of the reactor being built there.
  • Okay! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by haxor.dk (463614) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:05PM (#7774361) Homepage
    "So now we know where to build it, and who will help in doing it. But how do we make the darn thing WORK?"

  • by endoboy (560088) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:05PM (#7774362)
    Fabulous concept, but we've been 20+ years from having fusion power for about 50 years now... Of course, "we can do it in 20 years" is bureaucrat speak for "we don't have a clue, but why don't you give us some money anyway...."
    • Re:good point...but (Score:5, Interesting)

      by deglr6328 (150198) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:18PM (#7774878)
      Yes, the "fusion power will be workable in N years" mantra that's been heard from many sources for the past 40 years is frustrating, and considering that here it is 2003 and we still havent even reached ignition [llnl.gov] in any laboratory reactor is dissapointing to say the least. However, it is important to note that during this time fusion research hase come a VERY long way [iter.org]. I don't see how this progress can continue forever with no results.
    • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:12PM (#7775185) Homepage Journal
      Building a stable, sustained, controllable fusion reaction is relatively easy. That isn't, and never has been, the problem. You contain the plasma in a magnetic field that has a single half-twist in it.

      That was solved by the Russians many decades ago. The only problems they had before then were the appearance of regions of instabilities - the plasma would pinch itself off at certain points. Switching from a ring to a torus solved this problem.

      Ok, so why don't we have fusion reactors? Because to build them powerful enough to generate more energy than they consume has been cost-prohibitive.

      All anyone really -needed- to do was build a reactor similar to the UK's JET reactor, but a few thousand times larger, and with magnetic fields many orders of magnitude stronger.

      You also want to start it from very cold. The idea here is to pack as many protons into the reactor as you can. The colder they are, the more you can pack in.

      Once you ignite your super-cold plasma, the nuclei are already much closer together, and can't move apart (density too high, plus magnetic field containing the plasma). Your ideal starting material would be a Bose-Einstein Condensate. You cannot get a better density than that, using just conventional means.

      This is why you'd need the stupendous magnetic fields. What I'm suggesting is not fusion of a low-density gas, but fusion of a pseudo-liquid or pseudo-solid. To retain that kind of density, when the material is undergoing fusion, would require fields vastly greater than those currently used in fusion research.

      The longest-lasting fusion reaction so far demonstrated is that of the hydrogen bomb. The reason it works better than the research reactors is that the designers wanted to maximise the energies, not keep them within a level that can be controlled on some PhD grant.

      The idea of my little idea above is to go the same direction. Forget the design parameters, get the energies to where we know sustained fusion will take place, and then figure out how to keep the thing from splitting the planet in half.

      With this kind of physics, this is the only way you can work. Single-team budgets will never yield enough cash to do what you want, so instead of "making do" with what you have, go for something that'll work well and make it irresistable for investors.

      What I am picturing eventually happening is someone building a reactor comparable in height to the proposed "Freedom Tower" (French Tower? :) - about 1700 feet - and then about 1700 feet in radius.

      Why so big? Well, the actual core - where the reaction would take place - would be very small. It doesn't need to be any larger than current systems. However, you have four other important components to consider.

      First, the electromagnets. We want something that'll contain a fusion reaction in what would be hydrogen metal, if there were any electrons present. Even without fusion, the pressures involved are going to be substantial. The idea of the supercooling is to keep the pressures within reasonable limits, prior to fusion taking place.

      But once fusion starts - at that density, you'd be looking at the kind of energy released in a few dozen hydrogen bombs, and you're trying to keep it compressed to something the size of a small two-storey house. Besides cost and effort, the other reason research reactors use gas is to keep the speed of the reaction slow. We're talking about throwing that out the window, and letting the reaction run as hot as we can possibly contain.

      The way you'd work it is, once the reaction is started, expand the bubble the reaction is in, rapidly. The reaction is then uniform, but is slowed down by the expansion. Hopefully, by enough that you can keep the thing from either exploding or shutting down.

      The second problem is getting "spent" fuel out. The larger a nucleus becomes, the l

      • by Mister Attack (95347) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:31AM (#7777081) Journal
        Interesting thoughts you have there...

        Building a stable, sustained, controllable fusion reaction is relatively easy. That isn't, and never has been, the problem. You contain the plasma in a magnetic field that has a single half-twist in it.

        Building a stable, sustained, controllable fusion reaction is _incredibly_ difficult. Yes, plasma can be contained by a toroidal magnetic field, FSVO "contained." A nice, cold plasma, at a few tens of thousands of degrees? No problem. At higher temperatures, though, collisions knock lots and lots of ions and electrons off-axis and into the walls of the reactor. This is a major mode of energy loss in magnetic confinement fusion experiments. As you mentioned, instabilities are also a tremendous problem, and that problem has not been solved.

        Once you ignite your super-cold plasma, the nuclei are already much closer together, and can't move apart (density too high, plus magnetic field containing the plasma). Your ideal starting material would be a Bose-Einstein Condensate. You cannot get a better density than that, using just conventional means.

        This is why you'd need the stupendous magnetic fields. What I'm suggesting is not fusion of a low-density gas, but fusion of a pseudo-liquid or pseudo-solid. To retain that kind of density, when the material is undergoing fusion, would require fields vastly greater than those currently used in fusion research.


        As far as Bose-Einstein Condensates go, BEC's occur at temperatures in the nanokelvin range -- that's a full, what, 12 or 13 orders of magnitude too low in thermal energy to overcome the Coulomb potential keeping the nuclei apart. BEC's are notoriously tricky to create; you need to go through several cooling stages involving precisely tuned ultrastable lasers, and at the end of all that work, you get a ball of maybe a few billion atoms. It is simply not feasible to produce BEC's at any larger scale, nor to keep them condensed at fusion temperatures.

        And as stupendous magnetic fields go, well, the best anyone can do right now is a sustained field of about 25 Tesla. I don't know offhand what fields they use in Tokamak experiments, but I'm betting it's no more than 10 Tesla, nor less than 1. Either way, there is no way we know of to make steady-state magnetic fields "many orders of magnitude stronger."

        It's late now, and I'm getting tired, but suffice it to say that there's a lot more to be done than just making everything bigger. The energy scales are enormous, nobody really knows how to keep a plasma hot and contained, and it's going to take a lot more R&D before we can get usable energy out of fusion.
  • Figures... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mondoz (672060) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:05PM (#7774364)
    Never underestimate the power of politically motivated stubborness.
  • Childish behavior (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nempo (325296) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:07PM (#7774379)
    The choice on where to build the reactor currently stands between Japan and France, but apparantly, the U.S. is opposing a french site because France opposed the war in Iraq.


    Not to sound like an ass or something but this seems like a really childish behaviour.
    • Re:Childish behavior (Score:5, Informative)

      by gsdali (707124) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:33PM (#7774571)
      Don't forget that France suffered several islamic terrorist attacks before 11/9/01 including a horrific attack on the Paris metro.
  • by akpoff (683177) * on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:10PM (#7774393) Homepage
    The choice on where to build the reactor currently stands between Japan and France, but apparantly, the U.S. is opposing a french site because France opposed the war in Iraq.

    Not to mention the French sensibly rejected calling it the "Freedom Reactor".

  • by Kymermosst (33885) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:10PM (#7774395) Journal
    What, with their obvious tectonic stability, vast distance from any faults and subduction zones, and lack of volcanic activity, they are the perfect choice for building a big, expensive, multinational fusion reactor.

    Personally, my preferred choice would be Canada, somewhere on the Canadian Shield.
    • by mumblestheclown (569987) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:13PM (#7774421)
      don't forget godzilla attacks.
    • by WTFmonkey (652603) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:18PM (#7774463)
      Interesting point. Although intraplate quakes are much more powerful (and much rarer) than your typical subduction quakes. They tend to originate much deeper and pack a tremendous amount of power. Look at the Lisbon quake that basically caused the collapse of the Portugese Empire. So Montana might not be as tectonically safe as some would think.

      Sorry, I took a Natural Disasters class last semester and it was awesome. You can get back to your topic now.

  • by ikewillis (586793) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:12PM (#7774408) Homepage
    which uses enormous power hungry electromagnets to compress hydrogen to the point at which it fuses. Unfortunately, this means that even if it is actually capable of producing more power than it consumes (like they claim on the web site) it will be monumentally inefficient compared to more modern fusion reactor designs, like the zMachine [sandia.gov]
  • by Phantasmo (586700) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:14PM (#7774422)
    Our crappy Liberal party decided that we didn't deserve the fusion reactor and dropped Canada out of the race. It's too bad because we were thought to have a pretty good site lined up.

    They talked about it in a recent Quirks and Quarks [radio.cbc.ca] episode (available in Ogg Vorbis!) Really sad. :(
  • by happy_place (632005) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:14PM (#7774424) Homepage
    Ive seen this one... Japan gets it. They gain ulimited energy, use it to fuel their great cities, only to have their robotic servants rise up and enslave them, all the while unleashing a great evil upon the world, that only a perky, well-drawn, female scientist and a guy with pointy hair can stop... meanwhile the villain is secretly planning to use the mega energy device as a weapon to destroy the world... Then Godzilla comes from the Island of Monsters and smushes everything... and we turn them away thanks to the loveable japanese children who sing to Gamera and those two twins that dance for Mothra... and umm... um... and just when Ultron's energy is about to give up, Skippy says, "Ultron I believe in you!" Then half the characters die in a horrible holocaust, while one or two tokens who might've drawn close together to each other in the conflict end up going away to pursue profitable careers in archeaology...
  • by Dr. Zowie (109983) * <slashdot@defore[ ]org ['st.' in gap]> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:14PM (#7774431)
    I worked at the General Atomic D3D facility in San Diego, the 1980s. The biggest limitation on the rate at which they could explore the experimental parameter space was the number of neutrons that the machine would create. The ultimate end of all modern tokamaks is to be turned into low-level radioactive waste when the machine itself becomes activated by the free neutrons liberated by the fusion process.

    The more conventional gamma rays, alpha radiation (helium nucleii), and beta rays (fast moving electrons) are dangerous enough but at least they aren't infectious: you can irradiate food with gamma rays and it doesn't turn radioactive. Neutrons get absorbed by nearby nuclei, which then themselves become unstable and radioactive. Ick.

    That's not to say we shouldn't explore nuclear fusion as a power source -- just that it is not the perfectly clean energy source that it is often made out to be.
    • by rtaylor (70602) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:31PM (#7774560) Homepage
      No, fusion is not clean if you look at a short timeline. I understand the irradiated components will become safe within 100 years, and can be recycled at that time.

      So, if a reactor is active for 30 years, stored for 100, then recycled into a newer model I think we're doing pretty good.

      There isn't much we do that has an effect on the local environment (inside the structure only!) for that short of a timeframe.

      If you consider this prototype is 500MW and nuclear reactor prototypes are 500kw to 1MW -- with production being close to 1GW... I predict a fusion reactor with 1TW output levels within 50 years.
    • It's certainly worth exploring - perhaps in the not-too-distant future we'll be able to mine 3He from the moon (3He fusion doesn't produce neutrons), it'd be nice to have a ready-made fusion program to use the fuel with when it comes. I guess it works the other way round too, so maybe the combined goal of a fusion reactor burning lunar 3He will be enough to inspire research in fusion and spaceflight.
    • ...And that is why we are likely to be using Deuterium-H3lium3 fusion, as it produces protons and no fast neutrons like D-D fusion.

      Protons can be contained by magnetic fields, neutrons can't. That means less rad worries.
  • Ah, Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThisIsFred (705426) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:17PM (#7774451) Journal
    Who in the US administration actually stated that the US opposed a French site because of their opposition to the war in Iraq? What does this have to do with Iraq!? Wouldn't France be the obvious choice? The French have the most experience, e.g. keeping a whole country full of fission reactors humming along.
  • by photonic (584757) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:18PM (#7774459)
    From the article:
    The Japanese site of Rokkasho-mura has the advantages of proximity to a port, a ground of solid bedrock and a nearby US military base.

    Why is that relevant? What are they going to do, recharge their battery powered Humvees?

  • by Daikiki (227620) * <daikiki@@@wanadoo...nl> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:23PM (#7774498) Homepage Journal
    The Americans are against building a huge, experimental nuclear fusion reactor in France because they don't like the French? I'd demand it be built smack dab in the middle of Paris. What could possibly go wrong?
  • by morelife (213920) <f00fbugNO@SPAMpostREMOVETHISman.at> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:28PM (#7774545)
    Little wonder there's no talk of having the site in the U.S. -- if the international community were to look at the current condition here for nuclear reactor safety and security, and the stance on public disclosure in this regard -- heck, the U.S. shouldn't even be part of the proceedings. (Unless of course Halliburton's doing the infrastructure buildout).

    "Hi, we're the guys who orchestrated the French Fry Ban in the Rayburn Office Building Cafeteria, we know exactly how to run everything, who is and is not in the Axis of Evil, and you can't play Nuclear Reactor with us."

  • by Feztaa (633745) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:29PM (#7774547) Homepage
    he U.S. is opposing a french site because France opposed the war in Iraq.

    So instead, they thought they'd like to build it in the country that bombed Pearl Harbor?
  • by mlg9000 (515199) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:32PM (#7774565)
    For all those that are undoubtely going to post something about how America and President Bush in particular are evil for doing something like this here's a little factoid:

    Europe did it first to Spain for it's SUPPORT of the Iraq war. If you don't believe me here's a link (NYT -registration required etc..):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/27/international/ eu rope/27BRIE5.html?ex=1072069200&en=bf36a06d6e81a8a b&ei=5070

    Not that's I'd expect Slashdot (or the BBC) to get the whole story. As much as I like Slashdot this place is definitely ultra liberal and has an agenda to go with that... so always helps to verify anything you hear on this first before you believe it. (As everyone should on ALL media sources before they go spouting it as fact)
  • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:37PM (#7774598) Homepage Journal
    The French just need to start building a reactor on coastline. If it explodes during testing or operation, it'll be England, not France, that gets smothered in radioactive debris.


    The English will have no choice but to either fund the French effort or invade. As the rest of the EU would frown on invading, that just leaves making sure the French reactor worked perfectly.


    In turn, with two fairly substantial doners then backing a French effort, other countries would see no point in funding another, so would join in.


    Once America is the lone holdout, the US taxpayer must either pay 100% of the costs of a fusion reactor (which would cost congressmen a lot of votes) or the US Government would have to give in.


    Y'see, the important thing in politics is not who is right, or even who is richest, but rather who is the better gambler.

  • by Dolphinzilla (199489) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:50PM (#7774684) Journal
    I am so sick of the how the stories that get posted on Slashdot always have some wording to get this site going on a political bent. This story could have stimulated some interesting technical discussion - but because it had a tag line that mentioned the French / American thing, it will degrade into yet another Slashdot American / European / Asian / etc. bashing....
    Please PLEASE keep it about "News for Nerds" and "Stuff that Matters"
  • How do they know? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mc6809e (214243) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:50PM (#7774688)
    The article asserts that the US is opposing the France option because of the Iraq war.

    Just because some reporter makes this claim doesn't make it true. What is the source of this? There is nothing in the article to back it up. Maybe the claim comes from a source that is simply guessing as to the US's motives. Maybe the source is trying to divert attention from legitimate objections by claiming this is all politically motivated. We don't know.

    Take this article with a grain of salt.

  • Shut up US (Score:3, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:54PM (#7774714) Journal
    What the hell does Iraq have to do with it? France have every right to hold their own opinions, does America think that just because they caught Saddam they now have the moral superiority of everyone? The site should be chosen on scientific suitability and somewhere where it wont be at risk of sabotage or control by any one government, it shouldnt be chosen based on the political views of some government in a totally unrealated matter. Its just childish like the Galileo demands.
    • Re:Shut up US (Score:3, Insightful)

      by praksys (246544)
      France have every right to hold their own opinions...

      ...but the US has to "shut up"? Don't the Americans have a right to have their own opinions?

      If the US wants to help the countries that help them, why souldn't they do so? If the French want to make matters difficult for the Amereicans then they should feel free, but they shouldn't get all whiney when the US then decides to help someone else.

  • What ITER is about (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zo0ok (209803) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:02PM (#7774769) Homepage
    Basically fusion is not that hard. The problem in a fusion reactor is that the plasma cools off very quickly (seconds). If we let:

    EO = energy outflow (cooling of plasma)
    EF = energy produced by fusion reaction
    EI = energy input (external heating)

    then the following equations can be set up:

    1) EO 0, the above equations 1 & 2 are hard to maintain. Why? Because hot plasma is cooled down by the reactor walls (+ other kinds of cooling).

    Simply put, EO (cooling) is an area dependent function.
    EF (energy from fusion) is a volume dependent function.
    Thus, if you just build a large enough reactor, you can increase the EF/EO rating as much as you wish. However, a larger reactor costs more.

    If we build a big reactor (r=20m) it would produce net energy output. It would NOT be commersially usable.

    The ITER or Not-ITER discussion is about whether a large expensive test reactor would be worth its investment, or if the money rather should be used for base reasearch and computer simualtions.

    There are two fundamentally different fusion reactors, the "tokamak", and the "stellarator" (IIRC). You want a magnetic field inside the reactor that keeps the plasma away from the walls. In the conseptually easier tokamak, that magnetic field is caused by letting a large (Mega Amp) current flow through the plasma. This current is produced in the plasma using the same concept as a AC voltage-transformer (the plasma is considered one of the spools). However, this means that the current in the "other" spool needs to increase linearly in order to maintain constant plasma current. In reality, this limits the time the reactor can operate to a few seconds (then you lose the plasma and need to restart).

    A stellarator uses a very complex set of spools around the reactor to create constant magnetic field inside the reactor. "Very complex" means "not yet practically solved". Actually, its primarily a computational task.
    • THE EQUATIONS (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zo0ok (209803)
      Sorry, the equations did not work in "plain text":

      1) EO < EF + EI
      2) EO < EF

      1) means that we have a net energy output (assuming 100% efficiency)
      2) means that we have a "lit", self sustataining reactor

  • by mirio (225059) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:05PM (#7774785)
    but apparantly, the U.S. is opposing a french site because France opposed the war in Iraq

    Could it possibly be because France tends to sell [bbc.co.uk] all of their nuclear capability to the highest bidder (i.e. Iraq!). Who do you think provided Iraq with the reactor that the Israelis bombed? [worldnetdaily.com] Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know...the US sold Iraq weapons too. How about a graph [command-post.org] to show you the truth. The US sold Iraq 1% of its weapons and France sold them 13% of all of their weapons. Oh course, Russia was Iraq's #1 supplier. No wonder Russia and France were so adamantly opposed to the war in Iraq (I'm not saying the war was a Good Thing, BTW). Russia and France wanted to get paid by Iraq and they were afraid a war an ensuing chaos would cause them to have to forgive Iraq's debt. The war wasn't a good thing -- I hate it. However, we must realize that France's and Russia's opposition to it was not an act of kindness, either -- it was about money. The only possible good guy in all of this was Germany, although Iraq also owes German firms a LOT of money for work done there (mostly civil engineering, public works, etc).
  • by defwu (688771) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:11PM (#7774825) Journal
    The AP story doesn't prominently mention the us objection to France because of their object to the war in Iraq. Conversly, the BBC story makes ABSOLUTELY NO MENTION of what the "us objections" actually are. I have not been able to find any credible mention of who and what the actual objections are. Is this just a quote from someone with an axe to grind?

    The technical aspects of this are much more interesting than the political ones.

    Technology will always devolve to the least common denominator. Polictics will always devolve to the marginalized just bitching.
  • by xcomm (638448) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:58PM (#7775115)
    For God sake - I hope the Fusion reactor will not come to Europe at all for security reasons!

    For the politicial assault in the teaser of the article against France - here we go:

    There is not much difference between 'Old Europe' and the US till the end 199x. And for am I was born in Eastern Germany behind the wall there were a lot of reason to thank the US for standing and thus save whole Europe (otherwise there had been no hold for the russian divisions at all).

    But since the neoconservative Bush junta has taken over the power in the US all our picture of you has changed as dramatically as it could. Maybe we are driven apart before, but maybe all Europeans loved Clinton too much to see it. As where we stand now for me I can say: I see really two USA and they are as different as they could be. It's like you are a other land after the change from Clinton to Bush.

    As where we now stand I would suggest you in the US to read 'After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order' by Emmanuel Todd - despite it will hurt you should get a lot of truth from it.
    One of the main conclusions in this book is the change of the habbit of the US empire after the beginning of the 1990's from a good saving empire to a aggressive imperalistic empire.

    Here are some main differences between the US and Old Europe as good as I get it together. Hopefully we do not see here a other clash of civilisation Huntington may have left in his book.

    1)
    We do not believe that your President has been legitimated in a fair democratic election at all.
    (In no land in Europe this whould be able to happen - to have diffences in voting machines between 2-10% - and not count all votes via hand or arrange a new ellection.)

    2)
    Dead Penalty is not human and is showing a low state of civilisation.

    3)
    The agenda of Kyoto has to be ratified by the US as the biggest destroyer of our enviroment.

    4)
    The international curt in the Haag is the only authority for war crimes. Nobody here is seeing where you will have the right to think you would be out of this!

    5)
    You have no right to begin assault wars without legitimation of the UN security counsal - there will be no world order without the rule of law.

    6)
    There is also a big thinking of standing out of the law as empire. You have no right to deal like you do in Guantanamo! This is the tradition of Stalin and Hitler.

    So we see a fall of democracity in the US swapped against nationalism.
  • by btakita (620031) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:23PM (#7775241) Homepage
    There plenty of policits to go around. The European Union wants the site to be in France (I wonder why?).

    Meanwhile, "Canada, China, Russia, South Korea, the United States and Tokyo itself are reported to be favouring Japan".

    It seems like its the EU against the world on this one.
  • International? Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by manticor24 (643590) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:32PM (#7775295)
    Why doesn't the US just build one for itself?

    If they build an international fusion reactor, there will be endless squabbling about every little detail.

    The US should just build one for itself, and leave the others to their own ideas. Why should our scientists, resources, and military, and production benefit other countries? It's a bad deal for us because we never seem to charge for our services.

    What's the point of being a sovereign nation these days...
  • Funny... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blingin' AMD (625054) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:10PM (#7775548)
    How all the people I've ever come across that think the French people aren't on the level have never been to France. I mean, it's one thing to say "Well, All the French people I've met have been arrogant pricks, but I've never been to France," but quite another to generalize a country based on the actions of a: it's leaders or b: the damn few transplants you've seen in your hometown/area. I apologize to all the armchair bigots for going to France a few years ago, but When I asked for directions to, say La Defense (pardon the spelling if it's wrong) or the Champs-Elysees, or the palace of Versailles, (heck, even the nearest place to eat) I was given them, and given them very cordially and they even asked for my map and traced out the route. Shame I can't get the same service here in America. I live in Florida and there are a lot of New Yorkers in my area. All the ones I've come across have been arrogant pricks, but last time I visited NYC, even the Brooklynites were happy to tell me which lines went back to my hotel (Manhattan) and even recommended ones for cleanliness/safety/speed. I recommend actually visiting before making your umbrella statements about a given society.
  • by baz00f (520771) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @08:01PM (#7775883)
    I vividly recall a physics professor of mine, about 25 years ago, who worked on fusion, saying: "It will be almost impossible. The neutron flux for efficient, continous power generation is so intense that no known materials could sustain the exposure". He talked about materials getting brittle- the materials in closest contact with the fusion core would fail (in weeks, months) and there was no cost effective way to deal with that for long term, stable, low-cost power generation.

    Well, if you look at the topics of a conference (11th International Conference on Fusion Reactor Materials) [kyoto-u.ac.jp] in Japan just a few weeks ago, that problem has not gone away yet.
  • Umm, why france? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377@gm a i l . c om> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @11:53PM (#7776935) Homepage
    The French have a reputation of being as petty, pissy and obnoixious as the U.S. That's probably part of the source of the animosity between the two cultures. We're too much alike and won't admit it.

    As an American, I'd rather see the reactor built in Japan. There's a laundry list of reasons (the French seem to handle internation opinion & criticism about as well as we do), but if it makes you Euro's feel warm, fuzzy, and supieror, then fine;

    "I don't want them thar frechies building nuthin' cause they didn't support the war. Damn Frogs. God Bless America! Power of Pride! Never Forget!"

    Have I reinforced the stereotypes enough? Or should I post a link to pictures of my pickup truck?

    The U.S. could get the whole planet laid, and they'd still complain. If we supported the French Project we'd be unjustly shutting out Japan of an economic opportunity.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @12:13AM (#7777010) Journal
    The choice on where to build the reactor currently stands between Japan and France [,,,]

    They should build it in Greenland, Iceland, or Siberia. Then they could achieve cold fusion.

    B-)
  • by backdoorstudent (663553) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @01:13AM (#7777256)
    ... In the beautiful south of France or in the Japanese countryside 200km from anywhere?
  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:50AM (#7777614) Journal
    ... build the fusion reactor in Iraq.

    That way everyone will have an interest in seeing Iraq rebuilt and made safe and Iraq will also be able to better repay its debts...As apparently its oil is not enough.....

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