Friday, 18 January 2008

US Cuts ITER Fusion Funding.

Hot off the accelerator, we hear that the US Govt. has cut funding to the massive, poinsonous white elephant ITER project.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the renewed, order-of-magnitude cheaper IEC Fusion programme, that I blogged about earlier, which has already achieved first plasma after the project re-started a few months ago. ITER will not get there for 10 years, take 10 years to prove it is actually doing what they think it is doing, 10 years to refine, 10 years to get a prototype power station complete*. So, in 2047 ITER, even by today's timescales, will only just be ready to start the process of generating commercially. 40+ years, yet IEC has plasma in months. ITER appears to resemble a project to create a steam-powered aeroplane**.

ITER is a cathedral-sized, neutron-spewing leviathan, a piece of hell that needs to be constantly contained and restrained. IEC fusion is mews-sized and, in comparison, pretty clean and safe.


The Massive ITER Device...as a 'graphical representation'



IEC looks the part, and this is the electrical containment proof.

Everyone is wailling about "international commitment", i.e. ego. Science should be about following the right path or all possible paths. ITER is about ego. ITER is Fusion for small willies. The logical approach for International fusion research would be to fund IEC Fusion alongside ITER - a hedge. Does the "International Community" do that? No.


* There is a great R4 show on now about the ZETA project, which tracks the Fusion research with a UK slant. As always, UK genius stabbed in the back by the State. From thsi programe and out of the mouth of an ITER rep I get these timeframes.


** Ein Zeppelin w├╝rde vermutlich gut, ja funktionieren?

4 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

A steam powered Zeppelin wouldn't get off the ground.

Mark Wadsworth said...

A steam powered Zeppelin wouldn't get off the ground.

Roger Thornhill said...

I don't think a steam powered zep is to outlandish. Just very slow and limited range. Eventually they would have evolved the contraption into a Stirling Engined device in all but name.

M. Simon said...

Roger,

Loved the post. And thanks for the previous one on WB-7.

I think the American Congress got wind of WB-7 and sent the DOE (funder of ITER) a message.

One of the DOE guys kept saying "will of the people and Congress" in his lament.

Heh.

There is still some self government left in the USA. Huzzah.