Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ITER Back To The Drawing Board

The ITER fusion test reactor project is getting a schedule review [pdf] because the project is seriously out of whack.
The scientific and engineering team building the ITER fusion reactor failed to win an expected endorsement from the project’s governing council last week. The council, which represents the seven international partners in the project—China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United States—sent the team back to do more work on the proposed construction schedule for the mammoth undertaking.
So what is being done to fix this mismatch between means and ends?
...ITER staff have been racing for months to get the final project baseline documents, which describe the design, cost estimates, and planned schedule, ready for the 18–19 November council meeting at Cadarache (Science, 13 November, p. 932). But some council members voiced concern that the schedule, which aimed to start the reactor by 2018, was not realistic and that there was too high a risk that some part of the immensely complicated effort could go wrong.

A slip in the schedule would invariably mean increased costs, and the council is already concerned about budget estimates, which, sources say, may have doubled from ��5 billion since the partners signed up in 2006. So the council told ITER staff to nail down more firmly the risks, both technical and organizational, involved in the schedule and come back in February with earliest and latest possible start-up dates.
And they are not even going to discuss costs until they get a schedule estimate. Good.

I wonder if the fact that Focus Fusion, and Tri-Alpha Energy, and General Fusion, and other groups promise results much sooner at much lower costs also has something to do with the reevaluation.

Of course you all know my favorite. The Polywell Fusion Reactor. You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

The American Thinker has a good article up with the basics. And the best part? We Will Know In Two Years.

Here is a good page to keep up with ITER news. I love what it says at the top of the page:

18 Years Until 1st Q = 10 DT pulse 400s long at 500MW on ITER

Plasma Physicist and author of Principles of Plasma PhysicsDr. Nicholas Krall said, "We spent $15 billion dollars studying tokamaks and what we learned about them is that they are no damn good."

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