From world nuclear news we learn the first concrete has been poured for the basement of the Tokamak complex of the International Thermonuclear Experimental fusion reactor project (ITER) at Cadarache in southern France. Over the next 6 months some 15,000 cubic metres of concrete and 4000 tonnes of reinforcement will be installed  to complete the 1.5 metres thick slab. The Tokamak complex will house the nuclear fusion reactor as well as diagnostic and tritium management systems. It will be 120 metres long and 80 metres in height and width. The ITER project is designed to take nuclear fusion research to a new level with the largest ever Tokamak unit, which should be capable of sustaining plasmas that produce 500 MWt for as long as seven minutes. The EU is funding half of the cost while the remainder comes in equal parts from the other partners: China, Japan, India, Russia, South Korea and the USA. The complex is expected to open in 2020 and reach full operation by 2027.

Recently in a gloomy outlook on the world economy over the next half century to the World Monetary Fund, Larry Summers, former economic adviser to US President Barack Obama, described fusion power and ITER as “the one crucial area to watch” over the next half century.

Fusion power could be closer than we think. In September the National Ignition Facility at the Livermore lab in California succeeded for the first time in getting more energy out of a hydrogen isotope than the 192 beams from the world’s most powerful lasers were pumping in. And at the Max Planck institute in Garching, Germany, scientists pumped 13 megawatts into a magnetic chamber and held the magnetic field stable for 6 seconds. Hitherto, nobody had stabilized the field for more than a few milliseconds.

At Cadarache in southern France, the International Thermo-nuclear Experimental Reactor is being built and is scheduled to be operational by 2020. Building on the work from Livermore and Garching and elsewhere, this international science project, financed by Europe, the United States, Russia, China, India and Japan, s designed to be the first fusion reactor, delivering 500 megawatts of power from 50 megawatts of input. If it works as expected, it means unlimited cheap energy. And that will present us with a whole new set of challenges and opportunities.

YouTube has a video called The Future of Fusion with ITER.

The Imperial College of London also looks at the prospects for fusion in Science from scratch: Will we ever create our own sun?

The Daily Galaxy wonders if China’s 1st Moon rover will find Helium-3. Earth’s Energy has discussed the significance of Helieum-3 (H3) on the Moon for fusion power here and here. According to this post:

Scientists estimate there are about one million tons of helium 3 on the moon, enough to power the world for thousands of years. The equivalent of a single space shuttle load or roughly 25 tons could supply the entire United States’ energy needs for a year.

Thermonuclear reactors capable of processing Helium-3 would have to be built, along with major transport system to get various equipment to the Moon to process huge amounts of lunar soil and get the minerals back to Earth.

xinhuanet tells us Russian scientists claim the world record in heating thermonuclear plasma. Last week the Russian Academy of Science said a team of physicists has heated thermonuclear plasma to a temperature of 4.5 million degrees Celsius or approximately 1.5 to two times higher than it has been achieved previously. The record-high temperature of plasma was sustained for about 10 milliseconds. The temperature was achieved in November at the Budker Nuclear Physics Institute in the city of Novosibirsk in southern Siberia.

gulfnews tells us 25% of the energy to power the United Arab Emirates will come from nuclear by 2020. This week the UAE Minister of Energy told a delegation of foreign correspondents that 25% of the nation’s electricity will be generated from nuclear resources by the end of this decade.

Southeast Asia is moving ahead with its plans to use nuclear power to generate electricity says eurasia review. Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia either already have nuclear reactors in operation or have plans to do so in the near future.  Singapore is alone in abandoning nuclear as a source of electricity generation.







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