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ITER (was Re: David Suzuki...)

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  • Jim Hoerner
    ... Graham rocks. Gotta post it... http://www.durhamregion.com/dr/nn/opinion/letter/story/1125177p-1341451c.html Energy matters Jun 10, 2003 To the editor:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2003
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      --- In Know_Nukes@yahoogroups.com, "csceadraham" <csceadraham@y...> wrote:

      >My comment on ITER in the local free paper:

      Graham rocks. Gotta post it...

      http://www.durhamregion.com/dr/nn/opinion/letter/story/1125177p-1341451c.html

      Energy matters
      Jun 10, 2003

      To the editor:

      ITER will not steal fire from the sun, at whose centre ordinary hydrogen
      self-reacts. If making that happen in a bottle were not beyond the wit of
      man, ITER might synthesize 500 tonnes of methane using the fusion energy of
      the hydrogen in a litre of water.

      It won't. Rather, ITER will explore an easier kind of fusion that consumes
      two things: the rare element lithium, and heavy hydrogen, a minor, currently
      hard-to-extract constituent of water. That difficulty and lithium's scarcity
      mean the amounts a working, gas-making ITER successor would go through per
      500 tonnes of product cost almost $200.

      Some necessary context: today that would mean a $100,000-plus revenue loss
      for natural gas producers, plus a similarly large loss to government of the
      heavy taxes that it hides on consumers' bills.

      Although the producers might take their lumps good-naturedly, there would be
      disgruntlement.

      But to everyone else it would be undiluted good news, especially considering
      that the fusion-generated chemical fuel could be chosen with a view to not
      blowing up any more strip malls, as natural gas did last month in Etobicoke,
      nor houses, as propane did in Colborne on the third of October 2001.

      We wouldn't make gas. We'd pick something more effective, something that
      doesn't need special plumbing, something safe.

      Aside from needing a plumbing-like network of wires, and not being a
      chemical, electricity isn't that far off the mark. Our practice of
      delivering fission energy as electricity to houses and workplaces is already
      a lifesaver.

      But the uranium that today prevents $100,000 in fossil fuel from being
      distributed, burned, and taxed can't be had for any $200. More like $3,000.
      So ITER may accomplish a real advance, although not, in my view, as big of
      one as developing a better form than electricity in which to distribute the
      clean, inexhaustible nuclear energy we already have.


      --
      Hold the door for the stranger behind you. When the driver in the adjacent
      lane signals to get over, slow down. Smile and say "hi" to the folks you
      pass on the sidewalk. Give blood. Volunteer.

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