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International Nuclear Fusion Energy Project Faces Delays, Say Scientists

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International Nuclear Fusion Energy

International Nuclear Fusion Energy

A little less than a month after scientists working on a nuclear fusion task in the US created a significant breakthrough, some not-so-good news has come for other scientists working on a similar global job. 

Pietro Barabaschi, director general of the multi-billion dollar International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, said the last goal to carry a first function test to make plasma by 2025 was idealistic. The date “wasn’t realistic in the first place,” even before two significant issues arose, Barabaschi was quoted as saying by AFP. 

He counted that fixing the problems “is not a question of weeks, but months, even years.”

Earlier, the task aimed to achieve full fusion power by 2035. However, the delay cited by Barabaschi means that it could be pushed about by another few years. 

ITER is a joint task between the US, India, China, Japan, the European Union, South Korea, and Russia. It was started behind a meeting between US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985. Despite the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Moscow has worked to keep its end of the bargain related to the task. 

“Today, we tell the world that America has achieved a tremendous scientific breakthrough … we invested in our national labs, and we invested in fundamental research, and tomorrow will continue for a future that is powered, in part, by fusion energy,” said US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Nuclear fusion occurs when two or more atoms fuse to make a bigger one; this is the same procedure that occurs within the sun.  It is the inverse of nuclear fission, which occurs when heavy atoms are split apart. Fission is the technology now used in nuclear power plants, but the procedure causes a lot of trash that emits radiation for a long time.

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