Fusion bows to the Rising Sun

 作者:宁笏砟     |      日期:2019-02-27 05:09:01
By Rob Edwards Stuttgart EUROPE seems to have conceded victory to Japan in the race to build the world’s first nuclear fusion reactor. European fusion researchers fear this may rob them of their lead in what many regard as the solution to the world’s energy problems. Vast amounts of energy are released when atoms of deuterium and tritium fuse together. But achieving fusion depends upon controlling a reaction that only occurs at temperatures above 100 million °C. Scientists have proved that the reaction can be contained by a magnetic field. They now want to show that it can be sustained in a reactor for more than a few seconds. Japan, the European Union, Russia and the US are planning to build the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), which they hope will sustain fusion reactions for 10 to 15 minutes. Japan has now suggested it will contribute up to 70 per cent of the reactor’s £5 billion cost—if it is built in Japan. Cadarache in southern France and Greifswald in northern Germany had both been proposed as possible sites. But last week, Germany and France said they could not match the Japanese offer. Russia also cannot afford to host ITER, and last year the US fusion budget was cut by a third, ruling out an American bid. “If ITER is to be built, it will be built in Japan,” says Karl Lackner, a director of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching, near Munich. Some European fusion scientists have not given up hope of hosting ITER, however. Alan Gibson, deputy director of the Joint European Torus fusion project at Culham in Oxfordshire,