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World scientists debate thermonuclear fusion in Prague

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Prague, Sept 5 (CTK) – More than 1000 foreign and Czech scientists met in Prague to present the latest findings on thermonuclear fusion that might help obtain an unlimited energy source in the future at the SOFT 2016 conference that started on Monday.

The Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT 2016), which runs through Friday, will also introduce one of the most expensive research projects in the world, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), that is being built in France with the participation of Czech scientists.

“This is a prestigious event. The conference is held every other year in a different country and it focused on the state of the development of technologies used in the thermonuclear fusion research,” Radomir Panek, director of the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Science Academy (AVU), organising the event, told CTK.

The ITER, built in Cadarache, 100 km north of Marseille, France, should be the first stage of a commercial use of thermonuclear fusion in the energy industry.

ITER general director Bernard Bigot said at the conference in Prague on Monday that the ITER reactor should prove in 2032 to produce ten times more energy than the amount put into it.

The project would thereby fulfil its main goals to understand thermonuclear fusion to such an extent that it could be used for commercial purposes, he added.

The EU, China, India, Russia, South Korea and the United States take part in the project with a budget of some 15 billion euros. The complex should be completed in 2025.

Czech researchers have also joined the ITER preparation. They conduct research using the tokamak COMPASS in the Institute of Plasma Physics.

Recently, Czechs clarified the effect decreasing extreme energy flows on the first wall of the reactor, and consequently also possible problems with its operation. The discovery is crucial for the ITER project, Panek said.

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