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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ITER Still Looking for a Home
9 December 2003 (All day)
The future of the global effort to build a workable nuclear fusion reactor hangs in the balance after officials failed last week to choose between proposed sites in France and Japan. Some progress was made, however, particularly in divvying up the costs of building and operating the reactor. "A very important step has been taken: The total budget is now secure," says Achilleas Mitsos, director-general of research at the European Commission and head of the European Union (E.U.) delegation.
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) aims to produce 500 megawatts of power by burning a plasma of deuterium and tritium held in place by superconducting magnets in a doughnut-shaped vessel called a torus. The ITER partners--which now include Canada, China, the E.U., Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States--have been working on the project for 18 years, but for several it is imperative to have a decision on site and cost sharing by the end of December.
According to Mitsos, the partners have now agreed that the host will foot 43% to 48% of the total bill of $10 billion for construction and operation. Other members will share the rest. E.U. and Japanese officials are now desperately trying to persuade the other members to support their site before 20 December, when politicians will meet in Washington, D.C., to sign the deal. It's time to bring a large international project to Asia, "to avoid having a monopoly of cooperative projects in the West," says Satoru Ohtake, head of the Office of Fusion Energy at Japan's Ministry of Education.
The management structure of the project has yet to be finalized, but it may depend on the form of compensation for the losing site. "We have discussed schemes so that the E.U. or Japan will play some leading role even in the event they do not host [ITER]," says Ohtake. Whatever the chosen site, researchers are praying for a positive result this time, after the program stalled in 1998 when the U.S. pulled out. "If there is no decision, it could damage the project. The public will think the people involved in ITER will never make any decision," says Ohtake.