Controlled nuclear fusion: the energy of the stars on earth - white paper on fusion energy

Marc Decréton, Vincent Massaut, Inge Uytdenhouwen, Johan Braet, Frank Druyts, Benoît Brichard, Erik Laes

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In the context of future energy supply, fusion energy promises an economical and environmentally acceptable energy production. It is based on abundant and equally spread fuel, offers high intrinsic safety and does not generate long-lived nuclear waste. Producing electricity, however, out of a fusion reaction is far from easy, and important technological challenges are still to be solved. This difficulty explains the long time scale along which the development of fusion is being pursued, as well as the high development cost required, in particular for the construction and operation of ITER. And still, the international community has clearly expressed its full commitment to this enterprise. The effort is worthwhile, due to the critical issue at stake: guaranteeing safe energy supply in the long term. Belgium was part of it from the start, and should remain at the foreground. The construction of ITER offers new opportunities, not only for scientific and R&D institutes, but also for the Belgian industrial capabilities. This report summarises this issue, and presents first an overview of the scientific background behind the fusion reaction and its control in order to generate useful energy. It describes the place fusion has in the energy debate, as well as the research and developments, with the main accent put on the European fusion programme and the specific contribution of Belgium to it. It concludes with the rationele for pursuing the efforts and strengthening the Belgian participation, sketching the synergies one can observe between the R&D issues in fusion and in advanced fission reactor projects. The document stresses also the particular strong points the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre in Mol, and Belgium in general, possess with respect to several key issues of the future reactor development. It shows how these strong points could be further exploited for the greatest benefit of the Belgian scientific and industrial actors
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSCK CEN
Number of pages67
StatePublished - Sep 2007

Publication series

NameSCK•CEN Reports
PublisherStudiecentrum voor Kernenergie

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