...a blog by Richard Flowers

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Day 2148: Star Power


Nuclear Fusion has been the PHILOSOPHER'S STONE of the modern scientific and engineering world since long before Harry Potter was born!

The dream of our age is to make CHEEP and CLEAN and RELIABLE and NOT-RADIOACTIVE FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS electricity out of earth and water.

(Well, LITHIUM from the Earth and DEUTERIUM – a kind of Hydrogen – from sea water, actually.)

Pop 'em in the stove, smash 'em together and POW you make Helium and ENERGY. Just the same as the way that the SUN, and every other star in the sky, does.

(Obviously, you have to turn the stove up to 100 million degrees or gas mark quite a lot, and sticking your fluffy nose in while it is cooking is generally very not recommended. In fact you need a special INVISIBLE BOTTLE called a magnetic containment field. No, not like in "Star Trek". Well, alright it might be a bit.)

Now important countries from all over the world – and Britain! – have agreed to strap a small star to the surface of the planet in Southern France.

Do not worry, though – if anything goes wrong, the fusion process stops in under a second. And anyway it will only incinerate Southern France.

It will cost ten billion euros (or in English money, one Trident submarine) and, as host, the European Union will have the honour of paying half the cash. In ten years, we will either have a prototype working fusion reactor or a set of magnets large enough to make the speakers for a DISASTER AREA concert.

The huge great atom-bomb exciting new power plant is to be called Iter (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or "the way" in Latin). Let us hope their fusion is more high energy than their puns!

It even has its own FAN CLUB.

Personally, I think the MAGIC KITE CARROUSEL looks prettier, though!

And a Very Merry 5th Day of Advent to Everyone at Home!

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