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Plan is to generate first ultra-hot plasma at €20bn facility in 2025 The €20bn project will replicate the reactions that power the sun and is intended to demonstrate fusion power can be generated on a commercial scale. Photo courtesy Iter. The world’s largest nuclear fusion project began its five-year assembly phase on Tuesday in southern France, with the first ultra-hot plasma expected to be generated in late 2025.

The €20bn Iter (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) project will replicate the reactions that power the sun and is intended to demonstrate fusion power can be generated on a commercial scale.

The steel and concrete superstructures nestled in the hills of southern France will house a 23,000-tonne machine, known as a tokamak, capable of creating what is essentially an earthbound star.

Millions of components will be used to assemble the giant reactor, which will weigh 23,000 tonnes and the project is the most complex engineering endeavour in history. Almost 3,000 tonnes of superconducting magnets, some heavier than a jumbo jet, will be connected by 200km of superconducting cables, all kept at -269C by the world’s largest cryogenic plant.

Date: Wednesday, 29 July 2020
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Russia’s DV Efremov Scientific Research Institute of Electrophysical Apparatus (NIIEFA) has sent a cyclotron to Thailand manufactured for the Institute for Nuclear Research (NRI) in the Thai province of Nakhon Naiok. The equipment, dispatched between 15 and 17 July, for the isochronous cyclotron SS-30/15, comprised nine containers with a total cargo weight of 120 tons. Rusatom Helskea JSC and Kinetics Corporation Ltd are building a cyclotron-radiochemical complex in Thailand commissioned by NRI. The cyclotron SS-30/15 with proton energies up to 30 MeV is a key part of the complex intended for the development of nuclear medicine and scientific research. The shipment was made after the successful completion of the acceptance tests and confirmation of all required characteristics.

Date: Thursday, 23 July 2020
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For the first time ever, through the Broader Approach agreement, a scientific partnership signed between Europe and Japan, experts have successfully measured the amount of tritium in the metal dust on walls similar to those of ITER, F4E announced. This will help scientists develop models to calculate the quantity of tritium that will be retained in the ITER Vacuum Vessel and improve several aspects of safety.

Date: Tuesday, 21 July 2020
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The work will extend the plant’s operational lifetime by four years The Cernavodă nuclear power station. Candu Energy, a member of Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group, has won a $10.8m contract from Romania’s state-owned nuclear company Nuclearelectrica for engineering analyses and assessments on Unit 1 of the Cernavodă nuclear power station with the objective of extending its operational lifetime by four years.

Candu Energy said the contract is focused on the fuel channel and feeders assemblies with the objective of extending the operating life of the 650-MW Candu 6 plant by up to 245,000 effective full power hours (EFPH) from the original design life of 210,000 EFPH.

The extension will enable the plant to continue operating until it is ready for refurbishment in 2026.

Candu Energy said nuclear power plant refurbishments are large and complex undertakings which require an in-depth assessment of the condition of plant systems and equipment. In October 2019, Nuclearelectrica awarded SNC-Lavalin and its partner Ansaldo Nucleare the condition assessment work, which will determine the scope of repair and replacement of other equipment as part of the Cernavodă -1 refurbishment outage.

Date: Thursday, 23 January 2020
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US company to build a proposed medical isotope facility in Janesville, WI The US nuclear regulator has published in the Federal Register a notice of opportunity for submissions regarding a “first of a kind” application by Shine Medical Technologies to operate a proposed medical isotope production facility that does not require a nuclear reactor.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said submissions must be filed by 10 March 2020 by anyone who wishes to participate in the hearing process for the application.

Shine has proposed to construct and operate a facility in Janesville, Wisconsin for the production of the radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) through the irradiation and processing of a uranyl sulfate solution. The company said this patented process replaces a nuclear reactor with a low-energy, accelerator-based neutron source. 

This source functions by colliding deuterium ions with tritium gas to cause fusion. The fusion reaction results in high energy neutrons and helium-4. In other words, the accelerator takes a radioactive by-product created by nuclear power plants (tritium) and turns it into the same clean, harmless gas used to make balloons float.

Date: Wednesday, 15 January 2020
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Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is working towards the future of nuclear by enhancing existing technology; developing advanced technologies, such as small modular reactors (SMRs); and assessing how all low-carbon technologies can be integrated within 'microgrids', CNL President and CEO Mark Lesinski said today. The use of hydrogen for microgrids is CNL's "highest aspiration, the Holiest Grail", he told delegates at the International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power being held this week at the International Atomic Energy Agency's headquarters in Vienna.

Date: Thursday, 10 October 2019
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Laker TRF Ltd says its water detritiation technology could provide "cost-effective and reliable" detritiation for light water applications, such as contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and fusion power reactors, such as ITER.

Date: Saturday, 28 September 2019
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Construction at the Iter nuclear fusion site in southern France. Photo courtesy Iter.

8 Apr (NucNet): The world is running out of options for generating sustainable, safe, CO2-free, baseload electricity, but the one option that “ticks all the boxes” for the future is nuclear fusion, a paper published in the UK says.

Date: Monday, 08 April 2019
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Experimental and theoretical research has shown 'spherical' tokamaks to be a "fast route to fusion" compared with more "conventional" tokamak devices such as Joint European Torus (JET), according to David Kingham, chief executive of Tokamak Energy.

Date: Monday, 30 January 2017
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Following UK media reports questioning the future of UK's Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) and the Joint European Torus (JET) in the wake of the UK's expected withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit), CCFE head Ian Chapman said on 30 November that "nothing has changed". JET is the largest tokamak in the world and the only operational fusion experiment currently capable of producing fusion energy.

Date: Tuesday, 06 December 2016
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