Surprise: The Gigantic International ITER Fusion Project “May Be Delayed by Years”

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Felix; The 2025 planned date to create a plasma has been set back for “months, even years”.

International nuclear fusion project may be delayed by years, its head admits

Facility in France still far from being able to show feasibility of generating carbon-free energy despite recent breakthrough in US

AFP in Saint-Paul-Les-Durance
Sat 7 Jan 2023 05.35 AEDT

Iter’s previously stated goal was to create the plasma by 2025.

But that deadline will have to be postponed, Pietro Barabaschi – who in September became the project’s director general – told Agence France-Presse during a visit to the facility.

The date “wasn’t realistic in the first place”, even before two major problems surfaced, Barabaschi said.

One problem, he said, was wrong sizes for the joints of blocks to be welded together for the installation’s 19 metres by 11 metres (62ft by 36ft) chamber.

The second was traces of corrosion in a thermal shield designed to protect the outside world from the enormous heat created during nuclear fusion.

Fixing the problems “is not a question of weeks, but months, even years”, Barabaschi said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2023/jan/06/french-nuclear-fusion-project-may-be-delayed-by-years-its-head-admits

A lot of green advocates have talked up fusion as a short to medium term replacement for coal. For example, the Biden administration recently announced a goal of fusion by 2032. Former British PM Boris Johnson announced in 2019 scientists in Oxford were “on the verge of creating commercially viable miniature fusion reactors for sale around the world”

In the light of this ITER fail, perhaps greens will need to keep the coal plants around a bit longer than they anticipated.

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strativarius
January 9, 2023 10:05 am

For the sake of argument say another 20 years…

Scissor
Reply to  strativarius
January 9, 2023 10:13 am

Promise?

Disputin
Reply to  Scissor
January 9, 2023 11:40 am

Promise?

Of course. I’m a politician, and therefore you can rely on me.

voza0db
Reply to  strativarius
January 9, 2023 10:43 am

50 years with everything going without major screw-ups!

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  strativarius
January 9, 2023 10:44 am

Another 20 years in perpetuity.

vuk
Reply to  strativarius
January 9, 2023 12:04 pm

You are far too pessimistic, success is just around corner. /sarc.
I think sometime in the late 1950’s there was project called Zeta claiming first fusion success ! !
I only remember name because that was name of the country preceding name of Monte Negro, the place where I was born and grew up.

vuk
Reply to  vuk
January 9, 2023 12:12 pm

Aha, google just found it
Early results were leaked to the press in September 1957, and the following January an extensive review was released. Front-page articles in newspapers around the world announced it as a breakthrough towards unlimited energy, a scientific advance for Britain greater than the recently launched Sputnik had been for the Soviet Union.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZETA_(fusion_reactor)

Jackdaw
Reply to  vuk
January 10, 2023 9:53 am

And ever since it’s been 30 years away, and still is, and in 30 years time it’ll be another 30 years away. A nice little earner.

vuk
Reply to  vuk
January 9, 2023 12:19 pm

Regretfully not named after ‘Principality of Zeta’.

OldGreyGuy
Reply to  strativarius
January 9, 2023 2:42 pm

Always another 20 years…

ResourceGuy
Reply to  OldGreyGuy
January 10, 2023 11:23 am

20^(1.1)

Gary Pearse
Reply to  strativarius
January 9, 2023 4:24 pm

Add another 100yrs to the schedule. With engineers delivering huge parts of a large chamber the wrong size, we know this is a comedy troup like the purveyors of 14th century wind energy to replace fossil and nuclear energy.

Remember the cooperative European probe to Mars where everything was metric except the landing which was in lbs and inches! Landing deployed too early.

michael hart
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 10, 2023 10:19 am

Don’t you mean NASA lost it?

From the LA Times
“A navigation team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory used the metric system of millimeters and meters in its calculations, while Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, which designed and built the spacecraft, provided crucial acceleration data in the English system of inches, feet and pounds.”

And, ahem, it’s the Imperial system, not the English system. Confusingly, both are still used in the UK depending on circumstances. The metric system was introduced while I was in primary school some 50 years ago.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  michael hart
January 10, 2023 10:08 pm

I earned my BSME and MSME at Purdue University ca 1980. My temperature unit is still Rankine…

Gary Pearse
Reply to  michael hart
January 11, 2023 4:20 am

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/photos-show-european-mars-probe-crashed-may-have-exploded-n670896

I stand corrected. Two EU probes have crashed on Mars, and I remember reading in a comment that the problem was mixed units. The commenter obviously conflated the NASA accident with these of unknown cause.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  strativarius
January 10, 2023 11:22 am

About as accurate as predicting the world will run out of fossil fuel in X years

lincsnick
January 9, 2023 10:07 am

Fusion power has been 30 years away since I was a child, it still is. I’m also still waiting for my jet pack and flying car, or were the Jetsons lying?

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  lincsnick
January 9, 2023 10:15 am

They are all waiting on each other. Soon, real soon now, any day now!

Duane
Reply to  lincsnick
January 9, 2023 11:26 am

Americans already achieved technical feasibility on our fusion design, which is not the one the Euros are using. Not 30 years in the future any more.

quelgeek
Reply to  Duane
January 9, 2023 11:31 am

I don’t like to sneer at any of these projects but the Americans only showed inertial confinement allows ignition. They did not demonstrate net energy production. Far from it, and contrary to the wilfully misleading press releases.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  quelgeek
January 9, 2023 11:59 am

On 5 December they produced about 3.15 megajoules of fusion energy from 2.05 MJ of laser light. Not much mention of the 400 MJ it took to charge the capacitors that the laser needed to produce 2 MJ. So a long ways from a useful power source…about the same as burning a wood chip in a campfire to Drax power station.

Denis
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 9, 2023 2:23 pm

Nor is it designed as a prototype of a power plant. Its purpose was to establish laser confinement fusion to permit ultra-mini-tests of nuclear weapons. And after years of fiddling with the variables, they got it to partially work for that purpose.

JamesB_684
Reply to  Duane
January 9, 2023 6:21 pm

Well, bless your heart.

PCman999
Reply to  Duane
January 9, 2023 11:08 pm

Better read the details on that test; they only got more energy out than LASER energy in, not more than the electrical energy used to fire off the laser beam. And they can only do a few blasts a year. And did I mention that tritium is $30,000 a gram? Coal is about $300/tonne the last time I looked at those inflated prices and produces roughly the same amount of energy – if someone can figure out an efficient way to convert high energy neutrons into heat.

KB
Reply to  Duane
January 10, 2023 5:50 am

They achieved 0.8% return on the total energy input.
The JET reactor in Oxfordshire achieved double this figure back in the 1990’s.

doonman
Reply to  lincsnick
January 9, 2023 2:33 pm

On a more practical note, I’m still waiting for my $2500 per year savings on medical healthcare premiums promised by Barack Obama in 2008.

n.n
January 9, 2023 10:31 am

In the modern model of renewable Green [energy].

Joel O’Bryan
January 9, 2023 10:41 am

Magnetic confinement/compression fusion is a dead end. Not because break-even energy successes may be achieved,but because of complexity and costs to replace the confinement container and maintain the ultra expensive superconducting magnets at liquid helium temperatures. The steady neutron flux from the fusion reaction, while carrying the bulk of the energy away, also affects the materials (atomic nuclei) which they hit.

The obvious engineering problems become apparent when one realizes that the multi-million degree magnetically-confined plasma releases copious energy flux of both particles and x-ray/gamma rays. The neutrons are the primary energy carrying particles that moves the fusion-released energy to a useful collection medium, typically a molten salt. The neutrons and gamma rays must pass through the vacuum, through the special metal walls (read: extremely expensive alloy) of the containment vessel and supporting structures, then past the supercold (@ -4K) magnets and cryo-helium plumbing, to be absorbed by a molten salt which then generates the 500K-700K heat in the primary cooling heat extraction loop.

This steady flux of high energy neutrons will have significant material effects, such a radiation embrittlement of the metals, which is irreversible on the metals in the machine.
The result: The containment vessel will need periodic replacement. And due to the fact the containment vessel is buried deep inside a complex array of superconducting magnets and cryogenic liquid helium plumbing, this is a complex, labor intensive task to disassemble, replace, and reassemble the Tokamak machine by highly skilled engineers and technians. And then there’s the ungodly cost of the tokamak containment vessel itself, which must be made of exotic metals to high tolerance speficiations. Then there the liquid helium plant itself as auxillary facility.

Of note is what happened in 2008 at the liquid-helium cooled LHC, when a liquid helium line ruptured due to an arcing current across a cryo-LHe pipe:

2. Within one second, an electrical arc developed, puncturing the helium enclosure and leading to a release of helium into the insulation vacuum of the cryostat. After 3 and 4 seconds, the beam vacuum also degraded in beam pipes 2 and 1, respectively. Then the insulation vacuum started to degrade in the two neighbouring subsectors*.

3. The spring-loaded relief discs on the vacuum enclosure opened when the pressure exceeded atmospheric, thus releasing helium into the tunnel, but they were unable to contain the pressure rise below the nominal 0.15 MPa in the vacuum enclosure of the central subsector, thus resulting in large pressure forces acting on the vacuum barriers separating the central subsector from the neighbouring subsectors.

https://home.cern/news/press-release/cern/cern-releases-analysis-lhc-incident

(“large pressure forces acting on the vacuum barriers” = it exploded. Ya’ gotta love engineering-speak.)

As result, while tokamaks may be neat physics toys for fusion Physicists to play around with (read: job security as long as there’s copious OPM supplied), they’ll never be a practical commercial power design (at scale required) to produce consumer electricity.

Screen Shot 2023-01-09 at 12.17.25 PM copy.jpg
Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
January 9, 2023 10:50 am

What has always bothered me about ITER and its tokamaks is the kludge piled on top of kludge with no end in sight. Anyone who tinkers with anything, be it engines or computers or birdhouses, recognizes that crud piled on crud to fix previous crud means it’s time to stop, rethink everything, and start over.

I sometimes think ITER may as well turn their expertise to adding all sorts of techno gee-whiz gadgets to revive steam engine technology. They could join forces with the green energy experts.

Ron Long
Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
January 9, 2023 12:05 pm

I had to look it up, so here it is: Kludge = something that has been put together from what is available, especially when it does not work very well.

Rick C
Reply to  Ron Long
January 9, 2023 12:42 pm

Kludge — See also “General Circulation Model”.

Last edited 27 days ago by Rick C
Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Ron Long
January 9, 2023 12:45 pm

Huh … thought it was more common than that.

PCman999
Reply to  Ron Long
January 9, 2023 11:13 pm

“Kludge” – Kontains Lots Uv Da Grey …duct tapE.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
January 9, 2023 11:03 am

I realized the -4K mistake after too much time had past for edit. It should of course be just 4K since Kelvin is an absolute T scale. Brain fart.

bobpjones
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
January 9, 2023 11:18 am

I’m sure, Geordi La Forge, could make it work.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  bobpjones
January 9, 2023 2:02 pm

Blindfolded!

doonman
Reply to  bobpjones
January 9, 2023 2:35 pm

But only after suspenseful music was played.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
January 9, 2023 11:24 am

Probably cheaper and safer to explode H-bombs in a subterranean cavern. Any takers? I didn’t think so.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 10, 2023 8:45 pm

H-bombs use significant amounts of fissile plutonium in their primary core that gets released to the environment.

Shoki
January 9, 2023 10:45 am

A giant, multi-billion dollar project involving multiple organizations and countries is not going as planned? What a shock!

Andy Pattullo
January 9, 2023 11:02 am

The lesson of fusion’s ever-receding debut on the energy scene should be applied to all the net-zero nonexistent technology dependencies. Near term affordable and reliable fusion generation is no more unrealistic than replacing our reliable energy sources with wind solar and unicorn rectal emissions.

Last edited 27 days ago by Andy Pattullo
Len Werner
January 9, 2023 11:12 am

Yes, what a surprise. In reality, is fusion in the extra-terrestrial universe–the only place where it occurs–really anywhere ‘confined’? Isn’t this planet habitable only because it is not? If it is not confined in stars, what hubris of man makes him think he will do it?

The only place where fusion occurs is in situations of the utmost gravity in stellar accumulations of hydrogen large enough for ignition to occur, and man should possibly work on mastering anti-gravity before he entertains the idea of going to the other extreme and generating forces great enough to contain what stars cannot.

Think of all the Global Warming that the elimination of having to burn all that rocket fuel could be avoided with anti-gravity. Let’s get that mastered first; if we got the budget it could be done in what, 30 years?

(‘Sign here, please.’)

Peta of Newark
January 9, 2023 11:24 am

So the heat shield melted and the rest of it went rusty.

Lord help us.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 9, 2023 2:05 pm

Why do so many people these days insist on using the verb “went” with a state-of-being such as rusty or extinct?

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 9, 2023 2:11 pm

Because languages evolve spontaneously, bottom up, and no one controls them.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
January 10, 2023 9:26 pm

Supposedly, one of the functions of our schools is to teach ‘proper’ grammar. In the absence of an education, one ends up with Redneck dialects such as “m r ducks. m r nut. o s a r. c m wangs? l i b! m r ducks!”

StuM
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 9, 2023 4:40 pm

OK,

  1. It rusted
  2. It extincted.

There, is that better?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  StuM
January 10, 2023 9:05 pm

No.

It is rusty, or it became rusty. (Note that the original word was “rusty” not “rusted.”It became or is extinct. Alternatively, one might say it experienced extinction.

Last edited 25 days ago by Clyde Spencer
Drake
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 10, 2023 5:35 am

OK Clyde, why do the British say, for example, “in three days time”?

Now, on news in the US, the idiots there are doing the same thing, “in three months time”, etc.

A day or month IS a length of TIME, and use of the word TIME is redundant.

So everyone just STOP IT!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Drake
January 10, 2023 9:08 pm

Why do the Brits do anything? As George Bernard Shaw remarked, “Two countries separated by a common language.”

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Drake
January 10, 2023 9:28 pm

OK Clyde, why do the British say, for example, “in three days time”?

Because they read it in the Guardian?

Johanus
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 10, 2023 7:25 am

Why do so many people these days insist …?

Because it is a perfectly proper English construction. In this case “went” is used as a kind of linking verb called a copular verb, which links an descriptive adjective to the subject. Almost every language has them.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/go#English
…. #10
(copulative) To become. (The adjective that follows usually describes a negative state.) quotations ▼You’ll go blind. The milk went bad.I went crazy.After failing as a criminal, he decided to go straight.The video clip went viral.Don’t tell my Mum: she’ll go ballistic.synonyms ▲Synonyms: becometurnchange into

Last edited 26 days ago by Johanus
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Johanus
January 10, 2023 9:15 pm

I don’t see the applicability of your first link to “copular verb.” I don’t see “went” being shown as an example.

Your examples strike me as being colloquial or casual use rather than formal usage that would be accepted by a journal editor.

Johanus
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 16, 2023 12:55 pm

 I don’t see “went” being shown as an example.

It shows “go” as an example. “went” is the past tense of “go” :-]

Other copular verbs, which usually have the sense of to be perceived as or to becomeappearfeelget, go, keepgrowlielookproveremainrunseemsmellsoundstaytasteturn

Duane
January 9, 2023 11:25 am

Americans already achieved technical feasibility on our fusion reactor, which is a very different design from the one that ITER is using. Still will take years to produce a commercial reactor plant, but much ahead of the Euro project.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Duane
January 9, 2023 12:15 pm

not years … not decades … NEVER … it may be theoretically possible … but not engineering possible …

JamesB_684
Reply to  The Dark Lord
January 9, 2023 6:33 pm

As an engineer, I have to respectfully say that it might be possible, someday. It might become possible, given that humans are still very new at so many fields of science.

A great deal has changed just in the past 150 years. James Clerk Maxwell didn’t even have flush toilets when he came up with the equations of electromagnetism, which enabled so many of the technologies that we rely on today.

I think fusion power plants may take another thousand years, but I’d never say “never”.

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Duane
January 9, 2023 12:48 pm

Please stop touting the laser gizmo. It used hundreds of times the power it produced, and the produced power was not actually usable.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
January 9, 2023 1:24 pm

produced power was not actually usable

oh! I thought they made a 1/2 piece of light toast with it. 😂

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  John Hultquist
January 9, 2023 1:37 pm

But the evidence, someone buttered up their boss with it and it is gone, gone, gone.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Duane
January 9, 2023 2:10 pm

One reason that the system took so much energy to fuse the capsule is that the antiquated lasers are very inefficient — around 1%. They could be upgraded. However, the theoretical maximum efficiency is still in the single-digit range, as least the last time I looked it up. Therefore, it doesn’t look very promising to use laser implosion for an economically viable device.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 9, 2023 10:37 pm

Agree. The NIF laser Holhraum approach is more feasible than the magnetic Tokamak design. But both are far, far away from producing usable heat output (thermalized neutron flux) in order to turn a turbine.

Last edited 26 days ago by Joel O’Bryan
Marty
January 9, 2023 11:52 am

Isn’t it long past time to pull the plug (so to speak) on this fusion research? They’ve spent trillions and come up with Rube Goldberg devices that don’t even work. Perpetual unlimited energy? Man, if you can’t con the government out of money you ain’t even trying.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Marty
January 9, 2023 12:18 pm

fission works … and thorium salt reactors are safe and simple … and could provide all the electricity we need for hundreds of years … we keep trying to be the cool kids …

Steve Case
Reply to  The Dark Lord
January 9, 2023 12:25 pm

Beat me to it you did you did (-:

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Marty
January 9, 2023 2:13 pm

I think that the justification for the complex device and high costs is basic research on fusion to insure that our arsenal of hydrogen bombs remains usable.

posa
Reply to  Marty
January 9, 2023 2:53 pm

The smart move is to end funding for dead end fusion technologies (laser and magnetic confinement fusion) and see what the private sector fusion research develops. If a winning technology appears, then nurture it with public funds… before the Chinese get there.

niceguy12345
Reply to  Marty
January 9, 2023 9:15 pm

No. Literally pull the plug: a TOKAMAK uses an obscene amount of electricity.

Steve Case
January 9, 2023 12:23 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember reading somewhere that Fusion Schmuzon, there’s enough fissionable material to power nuclear power plants at today’s level essentially forever.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Steve Case
January 9, 2023 12:44 pm

Depends on the plant design. First use uranium cycle molten salt, because it can consume all the spent conventional uranium fuel rods leaving little waste to dispose of. Then thorium molten salt, which is more abundant. Chinese has invested in a prototype scale uranium molten salt. US and Europe are screwing around with ITER at a much bigger cost.

dnthomason
January 9, 2023 12:25 pm

All of the past, present and future technical issues are minor when you consider that there is only about 7 to 10 KG of Tritium on Earth. They say this will not be a problem because they will be able to create it in the reactors, but nothing else is much of a problem either according to “them”. The estimated cost to produce tritium is about $2,000,000,000 USD per KG (science.org article).

PCman999
Reply to  dnthomason
January 9, 2023 11:22 pm

Tritium is currently about $30,000/gram or $30 M/kg in your units – but that’s from tritium filtered out of the moderator heavy water of an efficient Candu reactor. If fusion does catch on that’ll mean an extra income stream for the Indians – shame we Canadians seem to have given up our tech.

PMHinSC
January 9, 2023 1:11 pm

Would change “May Be Delayed by Years” to “May Be Delayed by Decades.”

posa
January 9, 2023 2:11 pm

It’s been known since the Seventies that the mainstream lines of fusion energy investigation — ie inertial (laser) and magnetic (tokamak eg ITER) confinement strategies were fatally flawed and are a dead end.

That’s why some investigators were looking at stellerators and spheromaks etc.

Robert Hirsch, who once administered fusion research for DOE has written on the subject.

https://issues.org/fusion-research-time-to-set-a-new-path/
https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/PT.3.3708

Nonetheless, the government bureaucracy refuses to admit they were wrong for 70 years, and tax payer cash still flows to the ITER and NIF style white elephants.

This doesn’t mean that fusion research should end. To the contrary, Hirsch wisely recommends:

“However, this particular failure does not mean that fusion power is a dead end. Research is under way on other technological approaches, which can benefit from the lessons learned from the tokamak experience.”

In recent years some remarkable progress is coming form the private sector with investor money. LPPFusion is one of those companies that’s closing in on net fusion energy. The company uses a different technique that generically can be classified as “self-confinement”.

see LPPFusion.com

niceguy12345
Reply to  posa
January 9, 2023 8:47 pm

How is a diff confinement in any way a solution? A solution for what exactly? Doing more plasma experiments?
Or producing useful energy?

KB
Reply to  niceguy12345
January 10, 2023 6:50 am

I don’t see how the energy is extracted, even if the fusion is actually successful.
There are a lot of fusion machines out there, and they all sound so clever, but I think we need to be very wary about delusion and even outright fraud.

posa
Reply to  KB
January 10, 2023 12:36 pm

The LPPFusion device generates an ion beam ; the beam is wound through a coil to generate and electric field. No turbines and steam generators needed. See LPPFusion for details.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  posa
January 10, 2023 9:31 pm

Magnetohydrodynamics

posa
Reply to  niceguy12345
January 10, 2023 12:34 pm

The existing LPPFusion self-confinement machine aka Focus Fusion a) is aneutronic, so no radiation generated in the fusion process; b) does not need elaborate equipment for huge magnets and lasers; c) has already hit 2 of 3 criteria to generate net energy. The reactor is very small and compact and is designed for commercial use to power the electric grid.
Further details at LPPFusion.com.

PatFromVic
January 9, 2023 2:15 pm

Fusion is the next energy breakthrough.
Always has been.
Always will be.

doonman
January 9, 2023 2:29 pm

Ah shucks. Fizzix just isn’t fair.

Javier Vinós
January 9, 2023 3:33 pm

Some things are not feasible no matter how hard we try. Fusion could be one of those. We are just not in the adequate astronomical body for it.

Next project, move the Earth closer to the Sun so PV solar panels are more productive.

Godelian
January 9, 2023 5:49 pm

We just need this guy to get on the problem…

“Turbo Encabulator” the Original – YouTube

Or his younger cousin…

The History of the Turbo Encabulator – Bing video

Last edited 27 days ago by Godelian
Dena
January 9, 2023 6:29 pm

It must be the not invented here syndrome. Dr Robert Bussard (yes, the one who envisioned a space craft that collected its fuel from space) also came up with the Polywell fusion reactor. It solved the problem of putting the squeeze on the fuel and even allowed clear access to the outside world. The project ran out of money shortly after the concept was proved and he died shortly after that. The big problem still remaining was keeping the magnets cool if they were able to consume fuel.

https://arpa-e.energy.gov/sites/default/files/5_PARK.pdf

niceguy12345
January 9, 2023 6:37 pm

Ce que nous craignions est donc en train de se produire : le coût prévisionnel de construction d’Iter venant de passer de 5 à 15 milliards d’euros, il est question d’en faire subir les conséquences aux budgets de financement de la recherche scientifique européenne. C’est exactement la catastrophe que nous redoutions. Il est grand temps d’y renoncer.

What we feared is now happening: a projected cost went from 5 to 15 billions euros [] it’s the catastrophe we feared.

Signed

  • Georges CHARPAK, Nobel Prize in Physics in 1992
  • Jacques Treiner (Theoretical Nuclear Physics; university Pierre-et-Marie-Curie (now “université Sorbonne Université”), Institut de Physique Nucléaire d’Orsay)
  • Sébastien Balibar (CNRS, French Academy of Sciences)

Date: August, 2010

Pat from Kerbob
January 9, 2023 9:26 pm

Fusion is simply the MacGuffin the greenies use to facilitate their story of how it’s ok to proceed with shutting down all the reliable generation.

Ian_e
January 10, 2023 2:16 am

‘perhaps greens will need to keep the coal plants around a bit longer than they anticipated’

Well, yes: they will need to, BUT they won’t!

buckeyebob
January 10, 2023 2:16 am

Shouldn’t we have already had “Mr. Fusion” mini reactors? https://backtothefuture.fandom.com/wiki/Mr._Fusion

SAMURAI
January 10, 2023 3:33 am

We’re centuries away from being able to maintain a 100,000,000C plasma inside a magnetic field 24/7/365…

Leftists realize wind and solar grids are complete failures so to give their comrades hope, they’re starting a new propaganda campaign that fusion power is just years away from becoming reality!..,

Kinda like CAGW which will always be “10 years away from the tipping point of no return!…”

When will people start being skeptical of Leftist propaganda?

Yooper
January 10, 2023 5:57 am

Take a look at what these guys are doing:
https://www.helionenergy.com/
Real Engineering has a good YouTube about them.

climategrog
January 10, 2023 7:04 am

Facility in France still far from being able to show feasibility of generating carbon-free energy

That was NOT the aim of the project. When this was started in 1985, no one was looking for “carbon free” anything. That BS was added by AFP

gezza1298
January 10, 2023 7:08 am

The envirofascists will strongly support nuclear fusion right up until it actually becomes a feasible way of running our modern world and then we will see an about turn.

Jackdaw
January 10, 2023 9:49 am

Yet another unicorn.

michael hart
January 10, 2023 10:09 am

It’s just another govt mega project which has been going nowhere for a long time.
NASA was also going nowhere before they started to allow the private sector into space launches with some new ides.

lanceman
January 10, 2023 10:11 am

Has there been any technology developed in the modern scientific era (say, since 1800) that has taken longer than 40 years from conception to market introduction that was commercially successful? Forty years is about the working life of a scientist engineer and is about the longest duration of debt instruments that could be used to fund R&D.

Some examples:

airplane: late 1890s – 1920s
transistor: late 1940s – 1950s
television: late 1920s – late 1940s
solid state computer: early 1950s – late 1950s
nuclear fission power plant: late 1930s – 1960s

The only exception I can think of was the liquid fueled rocket which was developed in the 1920s with the first successful “commercial” rocket being the Ariane of the late 1970s. However, the liquid fueled rocket was developed for scientific and later military purposes so governments were almost the exclusive customers, with private users adapting them for commercial use, mainly communication satellites.

Magnetic confinement fusion has been in development since the 1950s; Inertial confinement since the 1970s.

It’s likely that the ITER will be successful in its technological goals but the technology will be too expensive and difficult to use for a commercial application. Might find a use for space propulsion.

A successful fusion power plant will likely use an approach that has only recently be considered or is yet to be proposed.

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