Worlds First Nuclear Fusion Plant Will Have French Accent
France has been chosen to host the world’s first nuclear fusion reactor, an international consortium decision that passed over Japan’s bid for building it.
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a $13 billion project, is being launched in the hopes that the world’s reliance on fossil fuels will one day minimized or eliminated.
Nuclear fusion replicates the method by which stars, such as the sun, produce energy. Energy produced in this manner has an endless supply, and minimal waste.
The international consortium consisted of the United States, Japan, China, the European Union, Russia, and South Korea, who helped make the decision on where the reactor would be developed.
“This is a great success for France, for Europe and for all of the partners in the ITER,” French President Jacques Chirac said. “The international community will now be able to take on an unprecedented scientific and technological challenge, which opens great hopes for providing humanity with an energy that has no impact on the environment and is practically inexhaustible.”
Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2014 providing around 10,000 jobs for the local economy.
The parties involved in site selection were sharply divided. The US, Japan, and South Korea argued to build the facility in Rokkasho, Japan. But eventually, China, Russia, and the European Union persuaded the others that Cadarache, one of the largest nuclear research centers in Europe, already had the technical support facilities and experience for the project.
Japan was disappointed in the decision but was satiated by being granted a larger role in research and operations.
“Japan is happy and sad at the same time. We decided to overcome the sorrow and turn the sorrow into joy. Japan in the future will be ready to make contribution to the development of fusion energy,” said Nariaki Nakayama, Japan’s minister for education, science and technology.