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Understanding nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles

28-09-2017

Nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles need to be understood if the risks and challenges they entail are to be grasped. This understanding starts with two processes discovered in the last century – nuclear fission and nuclear fusion – that have the ability to release a significant quantity of energy from a very limited amount of matter. On the one hand, these reactions can be used to produce energy. Controlled nuclear fission is the process on which nuclear power plants are based. Nuclear fusion, ...

Nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles need to be understood if the risks and challenges they entail are to be grasped. This understanding starts with two processes discovered in the last century – nuclear fission and nuclear fusion – that have the ability to release a significant quantity of energy from a very limited amount of matter. On the one hand, these reactions can be used to produce energy. Controlled nuclear fission is the process on which nuclear power plants are based. Nuclear fusion, meanwhile, requires the ability to control a reaction that occurs at temperatures of millions of degrees. The control of nuclear fusion for energy production is the objective of the ITER project. On the other hand, uncontrolled nuclear fission and fusion reactions can be used to design nuclear weapons whose destructive power is far greater than traditional weapons. The first atomic bombs were produced and used during World War Two and based on nuclear fission. Since then, the design of nuclear weapons has been modified to include nuclear fusion reactions, leading to a sharp increase in the yield of nuclear bombs. The development of nuclear weapons requires mastery of technologies for the production of nuclear fuels (enriched uranium and plutonium), making access to these weapons limited. Advances in the production and design of nuclear weapons have made them smaller and suitable for mounting in the warheads of ballistic missiles. These missiles, whose functioning is similar to space rockets, can deliver their charge at a very long range (up to 15 000 km for intercontinental ballistic missiles).

ITER

26-09-2017

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project is a major global collaborative scientific experiment aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of nuclear fusion as an unlimited and relatively clean source of energy. The EU Member States participate by virtue of their membership of Euratom. Work on the site in France (Cadarache) began in 2007, but since then the expected final cost and year of completion have been revised upwards a number of times. It is now hoped that 'first plasma ...

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project is a major global collaborative scientific experiment aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of nuclear fusion as an unlimited and relatively clean source of energy. The EU Member States participate by virtue of their membership of Euratom. Work on the site in France (Cadarache) began in 2007, but since then the expected final cost and year of completion have been revised upwards a number of times. It is now hoped that 'first plasma', the point at which the ITER device is deemed operational, will be achieved by 2025.

Potential for Reorganization within the ITER Project to Improve Cost-Effectiveness

15-05-2013

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) Project is an international scientific undertaking between seven cofinancing Parties intended to demonstrate the feasibility of nuclear fusion as a power source. Fusion for Energy (F4E) is the Domestic Agency charged with providing the EU contribution to the ITER International Organisation. ITER, and subsequently, F4E costs have increased substantially from original estimates, because of a number of internal and external drivers. While ...

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) Project is an international scientific undertaking between seven cofinancing Parties intended to demonstrate the feasibility of nuclear fusion as a power source. Fusion for Energy (F4E) is the Domestic Agency charged with providing the EU contribution to the ITER International Organisation. ITER, and subsequently, F4E costs have increased substantially from original estimates, because of a number of internal and external drivers. While the EU has continued to affirm its support for the project, cost overruns have attracted a large amount of political questions, culminating in the capping of ITER expenditure through 2020 at 6,6 billion Euros, and have accentuated early difficulties of the F4E organisation. Beginning in 2010, a number of reforms were undertaken within F4E, including a reshuffling and reorientation of the governance and management structures, as well as significant efforts to implement cost-savings. The reforms have been widely lauded as effective and positive by stakeholders, although the inherent cost-effectiveness of F4E remains inextricably linked with the ITER project as a whole. Despite F4E’s commendable efforts, the margin to achieve the cost-savings needed to rebuild the contingency is highly limited by inherent characteristics of F4E’s operating environment. However, the study puts forward some tracks for improvements.

Autor extern

Ernst & Young - Government & Public Sector (GPS) (Paris-la-Défense, France)

ITER: the nuclear fusion project

28-09-2011

ITER is a €15 billion, 35-year project to build an experimental thermonuclear fusion reactor, which could serve as a basis for a future, larger scale demonstration power source…

ITER is a €15 billion, 35-year project to build an experimental thermonuclear fusion reactor, which could serve as a basis for a future, larger scale demonstration power source…

ITER, Fusion Energy and European Energy Scenarios

16-05-2011

The aim of the workshop was to present the future energy scenarios in Europe beyond 2050 with a focus on fusion energy including ITER and alternative approaches. The invited speakers explored European and global energy supply needs and its forecasts as well as the main features of the ITER nuclear fusion research project, its technological capacities, potential and limits, and its environmental impact. The workshop was organised in view of a joint delegation of the Committees on Budgets and on Budgetary ...

The aim of the workshop was to present the future energy scenarios in Europe beyond 2050 with a focus on fusion energy including ITER and alternative approaches. The invited speakers explored European and global energy supply needs and its forecasts as well as the main features of the ITER nuclear fusion research project, its technological capacities, potential and limits, and its environmental impact. The workshop was organised in view of a joint delegation of the Committees on Budgets and on Budgetary Control to the ITER site Cadarache, France, in May 2011.

Autor extern

Jean-Marie Brom, Sibylle Günter and Werner Zittel

Joint Delegation Visit to Cadarache (France)

16-05-2011

This note covers factual information on EU energy project - ITER in Cadarache. It was prepared in view of a joint Committee on Budgets and Budgetary Control delegation which visited the site in May 2011.

This note covers factual information on EU energy project - ITER in Cadarache. It was prepared in view of a joint Committee on Budgets and Budgetary Control delegation which visited the site in May 2011.

Autor extern

David KRIEFF

Thermonuclear Fusion - Current Status

01-03-2003

Between the discovery of its fundamental principles and the possible availability of commercially usable fusion power there will probably (and remarkably) be a period of around 100 years of intensive (and very expensive) R&D. It is difficult to say definitively whether fusion research is still more a matter of fundamental research or has progressed into the stage of development of an energy technology. In this context, this study addresses the following questions: - What is the cost of fusion research ...

Between the discovery of its fundamental principles and the possible availability of commercially usable fusion power there will probably (and remarkably) be a period of around 100 years of intensive (and very expensive) R&D. It is difficult to say definitively whether fusion research is still more a matter of fundamental research or has progressed into the stage of development of an energy technology. In this context, this study addresses the following questions: - What is the cost of fusion research? - Do we need thermonuclear fusion? - Is thermonuclear fusion safe? - Is electricity from thermonuclear fusion economical? - Is electricity from thermonuclear fusion ecologically sound? - Is thermonuclear fusion socially sustainable? In the light of these questions, and the answers presented, the study then explores different options for how to proceed (or not) with the fusion R&D programmes.

Autor extern

Armin Grunwald, Reinhard Gruenwald, Dagmar Oertel, Herbert Paschen, Office for Technology Assessment Attached to the German Bundestag

Emerging Nuclear Energy Systems - Their Possible Safety and Proliferation Risks

15-11-1999

This study aims at identifying and assessing the safety and proliferation risks that new nuclear energy systems might pose, and making policy recommendations based on this assessment. The basic physical ideas within relevant nuclear research areas are outlined and their major research goals described, with special emphasis on projects within the Specific Programmes 'Nuclear Fission' and 'Thermonuclear Fission' of the Euroatom Fifth Framework Programme Criteria for the assessment of safety risks are ...

This study aims at identifying and assessing the safety and proliferation risks that new nuclear energy systems might pose, and making policy recommendations based on this assessment. The basic physical ideas within relevant nuclear research areas are outlined and their major research goals described, with special emphasis on projects within the Specific Programmes 'Nuclear Fission' and 'Thermonuclear Fission' of the Euroatom Fifth Framework Programme Criteria for the assessment of safety risks are described, and criteria for the assessment of proliferation risks are presented. The implications for EU policy making are then outlined.

Autor extern

Annette Schaper (PRIF), Gerhard Schmidt (Öko-Institut) and Roland Bähr (Öko-Institut)

Evenimente viitoare

01-10-2019
Health threats from climate change: Scientific evidence for policy-making
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