News & CommentPlasma Physics

Requiem for a Heavyweight at Meeting on Fusion Reactors

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Science  08 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5365, pp. 818-819
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5365.818

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MADISON, WISCONSIN-- The dimming prospects for the full-scale, $10 billion version of the proposed International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor were all but extinguished here last week during a meeting of fusion experts. Not only did the design find almost no support among U.S. scientists, but for the first time, a representative from Japan's fusion program openly floated designs for a smaller and less ambitious international machine. This roughly half-price version, unlike the original proposal, would not be designed to generate the self-sustaining fusion burn called ignition.