Reuters reports that the six-party talks between the European Union, the United States, Japan, Russia, China and South Korea ended today without agreement on whether to build the world's first nuclear fusion reactor in France or Japan.
The European Union has warned it may go ahead and build the $12 billion experimental reactor in southern France if no deal is reached. Negotiations over where to locate the reactor have been stalled for about a year.
According to New Scientist:
ITER would work by heating isotopes of hydrogen to hundreds of millions of degrees, creating a plasma of charged particles. Confined by magnetic fields in a doughnut-shaped machine called a tokamak, the particles would collide and fuse, producing high-energy helium nuclei and neutrons.
The uncharged neutrons would escape the tokamak, generating heat that could be siphoned off for generating electricity. But the positively charged helium nuclei would be trapped by the magnetic fields and would help sustain fusion reactions.
For as long as I can remember, scientistsw have promised that fusion would solve the world's energy problems within twenty years or so.