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Europe’s JET Set Ponders Future of World’s Largest Fusion Reactor

Europe’s JET Set Ponders Future of World’s Largest Fusion Reactor

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In an article by the Science Insider, Daniel Clery discusses the future of the European JET fusion project. The world’s largest fusion reactor celebrated its 30th birthday last week, but experts are unsure of the future of the project. The European Union’s nuclear directorate is considering closing the project in 2018 to focus efforts and funding on JET’s successor, the ITER project in France. From the article:

Euratom (European Atomic Energy Community), the European Union’s nuclear directorate, is considering closing JET. In part, that’s because future JET repairs and modifications will be slower and more expensive as a result of radioactivity in the vessel. Euratom is no doubt also thinking about the cost of keeping a large facility like JET running while the €16 billion ITER is at the peak of its construction expenditure. Once JET closes, fusion researchers should focus their attention on ITER, JET associate leader Francesco Romanelli said last week.

Many at the meeting expressed concern about that plan, however. If ITER’s planned November 2020 startup should be delayed, they argued, there will be an awkward gap which may cause some researchers to find employment elsewhere. Some also thought it would be valuable for the two reactors to overlap, so that new approaches could be tried out on a smaller scale on JET without disrupting the ITER schedule.

To read the full article, click here.

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