The Quest for a Fusion Energy Reactor

Un libro in lingua di Stacey Weston M. edito da Oxford University Press, 2010

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Concerns over the planet's limited energy sources are not new. For the past half-century, scientists from around the world have explored substitutes for fossil fuels. Among them, developed nations have invested considerable resources in the development of nuclear fusion technology. Thus, in 1978, scientists and engineers from Europe, Japan, the United States, and the former Soviet Union joined together under the banner of the INTOR Workshop (INternational group working on a TOkamak Reactor) to share their individual research on nuclear fusion's viability as an energy source. Their ten years of cooperative work on the design and development possibilities for harnessing nuclear energy planted the seeds for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), construction of which began in 2008 and whose goal it is to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power.
Weston Stacey served as the INTOR Workshop's vice-chairman (and U.S. representative) and kept a journal in which he detailed both the scientific participants' technical work as well as their more political interactions. In this first person narrative, Stacey provides an accessible account (introducing explanatory material when necessary) of the research and development activities conducted to determine the viability of designing, constructing, and operating a tokamak experimental power reactor. Of more human interest were the obstacles the Workshop leaders and participants faced as they advanced their own countries' priorities while striving to make progress on the global future of nuclear fusion technology. Personal anecdotes illuminate the mixing of cultures and the challenges presented by the Cold War's unique political climate. While the focus of the book centers on the history of the INTOR Workshop, Stacey paints a full picture of the people and places involved in the work, how decisions were made, and how these efforts laid the groundwork for ITER's subsequent development. This text will appeal not only to those studying fusion science and engineering, but to anyone interested in a unique story of how international relations and scientific study intersect, ultimately one of collaboration for the sake of a common goal.

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