This book provides for the first time an insider's view into ITER, the biggest fusion reactor in the world, which is currently being constructed in southern France. Aimed at bringing the "energy of the stars" to earth, ITER is funded by the major economic powers (China, the EU, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US). Often presented as a "nuclear but green" energy source, fusion could play an important role in the future electricity supply. But as delays accumulate and budgets continue to grow, ITER is currently a star partially obscured by clouds. Will ITER save humanity by providing a clean, safe and limitless source of energy, or is it merely a political showcase of cutting-edge technology? Is ITER merely an ambitious research project and partly a PR initiative driven by some politically connected scientists? In any case, ITER has already helped spur on rival projects in the US, Canada and the UK. This book offers readers a behind-the-scenes look at this controversial project, which France snatched from Japan, and introduces them to a world of superlatives: with the largest magnets in the world, the biggest cryogenic plant and tremendous computing power, ITER is one of the most fascinating, and most international, scientific and technological endeavours of our time.
About the Author
Michel Claessens is a scientist and essayist. He was head of communication and external relations of the ITER project from 2011 to 2016. His background is physical chemistry (PhD) and science journalism. He joined the European Commission in 1994 where has been acting Head of the Communication Unit in the Research Directorate-General, spokesperson for research, editor-in-chief of the "research*eu" magazine and in charge of the science and technology Eurobarometers until 2010. He is now in charge of ITER policy and communication in European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy. Michel is also teaching at the Free University of Brussels and has published a dozen of books and essays, including: At the Human scale - International practices in science communication (avec Donghong Cheng, Jenni Metcalfe, Bernard Schiele, Toss Gascoigne et Shi Shunke), Science Press, 2006Communicating European Research 2005 (M. Claessens editor), Springer, 2007Communicating Science in Social Contexts (edited by D. Cheng, M. Claessens, T. Gascoigne, J. Metcalfe, B. Schiele, S. Shunke), Springer, 2008Science communication in the world (Bernard Schiele, Michel Claessens and Shi Shunke editors), Springer, 2012The author's TEDx talk: https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsEoeEetmvk