From Volume 37, Issue 48 of EIR Online, Published Dec. 10, 2010

Global Economic News

China To Build a Hybrid Reactor, as Bridge from Fission to Fusion

Dec. 3 (EIRNS)—Speaking in Washington on Dec. 1, at the annual meeting of Fusion Power Associates, Academician Yuanxi Wan explained China's long-term view for energy development, from nuclear fission to fusion. His was the most anticipated talk of the meeting, as the European Union struggles to come up with its pledged funding for the international ITER tokamak facility being built in France, and the U.S. representatives could only wring their hands, waiting for the budget axe to fall, once again.

Dr. Wan, who is Dean of the School of Nuclear Science and Technology in Hefei, as well as an Academician in the Chinese Academy of Sciences at the Institute of Plasma Physics, reviewed the recent results of the EAST tokamak, which is the world's first tokamak using all superconducting magnets. He also outlined China's contributions as a partner in ITER, at a level of about $1 billion over the next ten years.

China's domestic energy program is based on an ambitious expansion of nuclear fission reactors, he said, but these present challenges at both the front and back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. Dr. Wan said that there will not be enough fuel for China's nuclear program, and even breeder reactors, which China is building, are "not enough." China's fusion scientists have proposed to design and develop a Fusion-Driven Hybrid Multi-Functional Reactor as a support for fission, and an interim step toward full energy-producing fusion reactors. The hybrid reactor could also be used to transmute the spent fuel of the nuclear power plants.

The plan is to continue to carry out experiments on the EAST tokamak, while working on ITER, and to propose the hybrid project to the government in about five years. In an interview with EIR, Dr. Wan observed that there is a fusion competition in Asia, especially between China, South Korea, and India (all are partners in ITER, in addition to their domestic programs), but that there is also cooperation among the programs. China sees fusion as a technology that must be developed universally, and Dr. Wan thanked the American fusion scientists who were present for their help on China's program, and stressed the need for international cooperation.

Euro Guillotine Threatens France; Will It Junk the Euro?

Nov. 29 (EIRNS)—"Financial Crisis: France Threatened," is the headline of Nov. 29 issue of the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche, with an article making the standard arguments for accepting more austerity to avoid "contagion." But a second piece on the same page, under the headline "The Euro Will Pull Us into Some Sort of Chaos," is an interview that JDD conducted with Philippe Simonnot, author of a new book, The Day France Will Leave the Euro. Simonnot says:

"France's debt is no longer sustainable. We can't pull out of the current situation. The more they harden the austerity plans, the more growth recedes and the less wealth creation there is. The result: The burden of debt in proportion to wealth continues to grow.... The euro is an absurd idea of Eurocrats and central banks which grabbed power by creating a common currency and interest rate. Remember that at the beginning of the Common Market, not a single of the founding fathers envisioned a single currency.

"In the 1950s, whenever [France's] competitiveness was threatened, it would devalue its currency. It can no longer do that today, because our country has become de-industrialized and agriculture has been taken down. Therefore, we should leave the euro in an orderly fashion, and return progressively to parity with gold. Technically, this is feasible. But the Eurocrats will try to save their system to the bitter end. Their power is at stake. But I can tell you that the hundreds of billions of euros they expect to mobilize to save it will be squandered faster than you can think. And will go for nothing."

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