Home Science Unlimited Energy Through Atomic Fusion and US Politics

Unlimited Energy Through Atomic Fusion and US Politics

Several U.S. politicians have criticized America’s role in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project. An international fusion research facility under construction in France, the ITER is expected to go live by 2030 in a bid to discover the secrets of unlimited energy. A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine denounces views of politicians and asks the U.S. to continue participating in the experiment.

US And ITER

When ITER was first proposed, its estimated cost was pegged at US$10 billion. The U.S. was supposed to cover just 9 percent of the cost, or US$900 million. However, the calculations have gone awry and ITER’s cost has ballooned to unimaginable levels, with the U.S. alone contributing around US$4.7 to US$6.5 billion to the project.

This has triggered huge protests from some politicians in the U.S. who claim the research to be a waste of American taxpayers money. For 2019, the U.S. will only chip in US$132 million to ITER, well below the expected US$250 million contribution.

The new report argues that America should stick with ITER and even start building its own independent fusion energy reactor. It advises increasing spending on fusion research by US$200 million per year. The views are said to be a reflection of the American scientific community engaged in fusion technologies.

How Close Are We to Fusion Energy- 4-28 screenshot
The new report argues that America should stick with ITER and even start building its own independent fusion energy reactor. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

“We listened very carefully to the community, especially some of the younger scientists who are very active in the field, and what we heard from the scientists is a desire to get on with fusion energy… We’re not just studying this thing, we’re trying to see if it really does work,” Michael Mauel, a fusion physicist at Columbia University and co-chair of the 19-member report committee, said to Science.

Burning plasma

In nuclear fusion, atomic nuclei fuse together, providing an unlimited source of energy that can completely eliminate the need for fossil fuels. For fusion to take place, the atomic nuclei have to be heated to high temperatures of 10 to 15 million degrees Celsius. To reach such temperatures, the fourth state of matter called plasma is used.

However, to sustain the fusion, it is necessary to create “burning plasma,” wherein the fusion itself provides the heat necessary to maintain the temperature of the plasma. As a result, the supply for external heating power can be drastically reduced, ensuring that the energy output is always far greater than energy input.

Of all fusion experiments being conducted across the world, ITER shows the most promise. This is largely due to the fact that ITER is a tokamak reactor that uses a magnetic field to confine hot plasma.

Of all fusion experiments being conducted across the world, ITER shows the most promise. (Image: Screen Shot/ Youtube)
Of all fusion experiments being conducted across the world, ITER shows the most promise. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

“Only the tokamak has demonstrated the properties necessary for fusion energy. With the completion and operation of ITER, the tokamak will be the device that first demonstrates a burning fusion plasma with net power gain. So in the near term, the tokamak provides the quickest path to fusion energy,” John Wright, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said to Newsweek.

The success of ITER can literally herald in a new age of human civilization with unlimited, cheap energy available for all. The emission of greenhouse gases can be curtailed. In addition, fusion reactors do not have the meltdown possibility that current nuclear reactors have. This is the reason why the report requests the U.S. to continue funding ITER.

Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our weekly email

Vision Times Staff
Vision Times is a kaleidoscopic view into the most interesting stories on the web. We also have a special talent for China stories — read About Us to find out why. Vision Times. Fascinating stuff.

Most Popular

Newsmax Survey: Majority of US Supports Election Recount

A recent survey conducted by Newsmax and McLaughlin & Associates showed that two-thirds of Americans are okay with President Donald Trump asking for a...

American Economy Surges By Record 33.1 Percent

The U.S. economy grew by 33.1 percent for the July-September quarter this year. This is the largest quarterly gain in history since records started...

Dominion Employee Previously Worked for Chinese State Company

An employee from Dominion Voting Systems, which is one of the largest voting machine providers in the U.S., has been found to have previously...

Trump Will Campaign For Georgia Senators In Runoff Elections

President Donald Trump will be participating in a rally on Dec. 5 in Georgia to support U.S. Senate candidates of the Republican Party in...