KevCaz's Website

I wrote the lines below few months ago. I wanted to share them on line but at that time my website was not fully operational. As I dug out the text yesterday I post it on line today after few corrections.

I would like to share my feelings about the ITER project. Nature have recently published something on this topic and I think they could have explained way better the drawbacks of the project.

Since the 80’s - but the desire may have emerged before - advanced countries strive to control the nuclear fusion. In 1986, the ITER project started with many advanced countries and the hope of producing electricity thanks to this new technology over the next few years.

In Nature’s article, it is written:

“Nuclear fusion offers the potential for producing practically limitless energy by smashing heavy atoms of hydrogen into helium inside a burning 100-million-kelvin plasma and capturing the energy released by the reaction — but scientific and engineering challenges remain.

The report says the US should focus research initiatives on the biggest impediments to ITER’s donut-like design, called a tokamak — how to control the writhing plasma at the reactor’s core, and understanding how it interacts with surrounding material in order to engineer walls that can maintain the reaction.”

According to the experts opinion expressed during the French radio program Terre a Terre aired on 2014/09/20:

  • We do not know how to scale up successfully.

  • If we want to produce electricity enough for the USA with such technology, we would need all the niobium on earth for the surrounding material (but we also have to replace part of it each year, how ?) extra problems with tritium in only one or two giant Tokamak …. such an easy target…

I think the interesting part of this project regards the choice our society did:

  • Investing a lot of money for the dream of energy autarky with an uncertain technology

  • Occulting simple solutions such as getting energy from the biggest nuclear fusion chamber in our solar system: the sun it-self!

However part of the money may have provided significant progress but we still need a huge amount of money to answer the same issue regarding a clean production of energy, I think too much money have been put in the same “leaky basket”.

This is the end of the (almost) original text which I sent some of my colleagues and one of them answered to me like so:

“[…] but you know that it is hard to live without dreams, it is boring and not challenging.”

Damned! He is right… However I feel that we must question the scope of our dreams in order to prioritize them. The hope of nuclear fusion is potentially a huge step forwards but energetic stakes are major geopolitical concerns. The dream of some may have hidden the dreams of others. The money invest could have been useful to increase solar cells efficiency and to reduce their ecological footprint, that’s my guess.

I hope this could be of interest!