ITER is a multi-decade PHD and engineering make work project with the cover story of trying to solve nuclear fusion power generation.
Ghostbuster Dr. Raymond Stantz: Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything! You’ve never been out of college! You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve WORKED in the private sector. They expect *results*.
ITER is not the private sector.
Steven Krivit at New Energy Times describes how it will fall short of its power generation goals. The $22 billion project will then likely fail in its purpose of proving net power gain for Tokomaks at near utility scale.
This is similar to the prior article where we found that the over budget and delayed and failing California high speed rail will now need to spend about $10 billion more and take a few more years to build a 13.5 mile tunnel if it were to ever achieve its purpose.
The ITER project aims to make the long-awaited transition from experimental studies of plasma physics to full-scale electricity-producing fusion power stations. The ITER fusion reactor has been designed to produce 500 megawatts of output power for around twenty minutes while needing 50 megawatts to operate. Thereby the machine aims to demonstrate the principle of producing more energy from the fusion process than is used to initiate it, something that has not yet been achieved in any fusion reactor.
Krivit indicates that it will produce 200 megawatts or less.
Construction of the ITER Tokamak complex started in 2013 and the building costs are now over US$14 billion as of June 2015. The facility is expected to finish its construction phase in 2021 and will start commissioning the reactor that same year and initiate plasma experiments in 2025 with full deuterium–tritium fusion experiments starting in 2035. If ITER becomes operational, it will become the largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment in use with a plasma volume of 840 cubic meters, surpassing the Joint European Torus by almost a factor of 10. The first commercial demonstration fusion power station, named DEMO, is proposed to follow on from the ITER project.
This translate to – we want 3 to 4 generations of tens of thousands of physicists and engineers to have jobs.
They hope for vastly improved superconducting magnets to make the designs ten times smaller and more efficient. But 30-60 tesla magnets make all kinds of other nuclear fusion designs viable.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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