Russia may house first thermonuclear reactor

Russia and EC countries will be competing for a thermonuclear reactor to build on their territories. The news was announced today by Vasili Glukhikh, the director of the Yefremov Electro-Physical Research Institute. According to him, the total cost of the project to develop the reactor amounts to $8bn. EC countries, Russia, the USA and Japan are taking part in the project. At the moment, the Russian research institute is participating in the development of an experimental 1.5-Gigawatt reactor. According to Nobel prize laureate (physics) Zhores Alfyorov, cited by RBC, "when a political decision is made concerning the need for the construction of a thermonuclear reactor, it can be built in 20 years." The political decision has already been made. A week ago, on February 21st, the Russian government decided to develop a federal target programme on the international thermonuclear reactor for 2001-2001. Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry has been made accountable for the project which is to be submitted to the Russian government in the first half of 2001. Russian scientists decided to disclose some secret technologies in the sphere of thermonuclear physics. Due to a leakage of information in the 1960s, the scheme of a thermonuclear reactor has been patented not but Russia only, but also by several other countries. However, Russia has been the only possessor of a technology of producing "miniature nuclear bombs," necessary for starting the reactor. According to RBC, An industrial power-plant will have a power of 30 million kilowatts, which is equal to the power of 20 - 30 nuclear electric power stations. About $3bn will be needed to create this plant. According to some estimations, Russian specialists will be able to build an industrial heat and power plant based on this technology in the near future and to sell electrical energy for 2 cent per kilowatt-hour, which is strikingly cheap.

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