From the NewEnergyTimes: ITER, The Grand Illusion: A Forensic Investigation of Power Claims by Steven Krivit (Watch now on Vimeo or YouTube)
Is nuclear fusion a likely solution to climate change? Is fusion a viable alternative to fossil fuels?
For 70 years, fusion scientists have proposed new design concepts, provided computer models, and proclaimed that fusion is the answer.
But where is the experimental evidence that the scientific method demands? And why has energy from nuclear fusion always been 20 years away?
In a 1993 hearing, nuclear fusion research representatives convinced the U.S. Congress to spend public money on ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. ITER, they said, was the way to fusion energy. Elected officials in Europe, Japan, and the Soviet Uni0n also agreed to fund ITER. Later, China, India, and South Korea joined the partnership. The revised estimated cost, including parts, is now $65 billion.
For experimental evidence of progress, the representatives implied that, in 1997, the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion reactor produced thermal power from fusion at a rate of 66 percent of the total reactor input power. That foundation, as it turns out, was flawed. The power produced by JET was only 1 percent of the total reactor input power.
With this false foundation, they proposed the ITER reactor, which, they implied, would produce ten times the power it would consume. This promise was also flawed. If ITER works as planned, the overall reactor will produce power at the same rate as it consumes power. Although this result would accomplish its scientific objective — a tenfold gain of plasma heating power — the overall reactor output will be equivalent to a zero net-power reactor.
Fusion representatives told Congress, the public, and the news media that the ITER reactor would produce “500 megawatts of fusion power” and that it would prove that fusion on Earth is commercially viable. These false impressions took root decades ago and, by 2017, had been established as apparent fact as shown in records from the European Commission, European Parliament, U.S. Congress, fusion industry partners, educational organizations, and news organizations.
Was it all just a big misunderstanding? Did leaders of the fusion community fail to see the cause-and-effect relationship of their consistently poor public communications? Or did they have an unspoken agreement that false appearances of fusion progress were necessary to maintain public excitement and public funding for fusion?
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