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Russia, Italy to build experimental thermonuclear reactor

Russia & Italy have signed a memorandum on intentions regarding cooperation in the construction of an experimental thermonuclear reactor.

Villa Gernetto (Italy): Russia and
Italy have signed a memorandum on intentions regarding
cooperation in the construction of an experimental
thermonuclear reactor -- tokamak -- and other initiatives in
nuclear physics.

The memorandum, which was signed by the Russian Deputy
Minister Sergei Mazurenko and the Italian Minister Maria
Stella Germini, envisions the construction of the Ignitor
experimental thermonuclear reactor on Russian territory by
experts from both countries.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who addressed a
news conference after talks with Russian Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin, said the memorandum ushered in a new stage in
the atomic energy industry.

He especially underlined the scientific component of
cooperation in this area.The Ignitor is the latest arrival in
the tokamak family (machines that use a magnetic field to
confine a plasma) of thermonuclear power-generating units.
They were conceived by the Kurchatov Nuclear Research Centre
in Moscow and are regarded as its brand produce.

Sources at the Kurchatov Institute said Ignitor, along
with the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental
Reactor), which Russian scientists are also taking part in, is
a version of an experimental power plant with ignited plasma.

Ignitor is a compact tokamak with a big induction of the
magnetic field. It has been designed for studying the
conditions conducive to the development of a deuterium/tritium

The latter reaction has the capability for
self-maintaining and requires a lower temperature to start
than other reactions do, and that is why many specialists
regard it as the basic reaction for the first generation of
industrial thermonuclear power units.

Ignitor is quite compact in size, with a radius of about
1.3 meters. Its maximum output of nuclear power should reach
90 megawatts.

Experts believe an installation of this kind will have a
service life of ten years.


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