PRLog - April 13, 2012 - MIDDLESEX, N.J. -- A proposal by US and Iranian physicists for cooperation on clean energy research and development as an alternative to confrontation was featured on Voice of America’s Persian News Network television on Tuesday, April 10, just three days before the resumption today of talks between Iran and the “Five plus one” countries. Appearing for 20 minutes on VOA's "Ofogh (Horizon)" program, US physicist Eric Lerner described the "Fusion for Peace" initiative . “We are proposing a joint Iran-US program to develop aneutronic fusion power, an energy source that would be safe, clean and far cheaper than any now existing,” said Mr. Lerner. “If successful, it would make uranium fission and thus uranium enrichment obsolete and unnecessary. It would pave the way for the elimination of nuclear fission everywhere, so remove the issue of the confrontation.”
The coverage of this proposal on Voice of America’s Farsi (Persian) language station has brought the proposal to the attention of hundreds of thousands of Iranian viewers, and --the scientists hope-- to officials within both the Iranian and US governments. The Voice of America is operated as an arm of the US government, but has a policy of administrative and journalistic autonomy from the US State Department.
Lerner, Chief Scientist at Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc, a fusion energy R&D firm, explained that he had launched the proposal together with two Iranian plasma physicists, Dr. Hamid Reza Yousefi, of I.Azad University and Dr. Morteza Habibi of Amirkabir University, both in Tehran. Lerner's lab recently published record-breaking fusion results showing new promise for his lab's "dense plasma focus" (DPF) device.
Iran, with six DPF research groups, has more of these devices than any other country in the world, and their scientists are also making progress on this and other approaches to aneutronic fusion energy, a form of nuclear fusion where no neutrons are produced. The lack of neutrons make possible energy production without radioactive waste, and also allows the generators to be much more compact and economical than for any other proposed energy source.
The Fusion for Peace proposal, first published in OpEd News three weeks ago, now has gotten the support of three more physicists—one in Iran and two in Japan, Lerner said on the show, as well as over 100 other supporters.
Also appearing on the show in support of the proposal was Rezwan Razani, Executive Director of the Fusion Energy League, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of fusion energy. Ms. Razani provided broader context, noting that "there are many roads to fusion and fission that are underfunded, many nuclear options that don’t involve enrichment that could make the nuclear weapons issue moot." She advocated "a parallel approach and much more investment in all good nuclear power," specifically mentioning the US Department of Energy's controversially cancelled Alcator CMod fusion program at MIT.
Ms. Razani also spoke of the economic value of fusion for Iran, saying in essence “First, there’s the value of the science itself. Advancing knowledge opens up frontiers and possibilities and is intrinsically cool. You are also developing your intellectual capital - your scientists who will be able to play an important role in the unfolding of the ultimate energy solutions. Then there are the more practical spinoffs of the technology and plasma - many other applications arise from it. This is a fork in the path, a chance at a new direction. This potential conflict between the US and Iran can instead become an opportunity to shift the conversation to the clean energy possibilities of advanced fusion and help usher in a peaceful nuclear age.”
Supporter Adam Chase might have said it best: "War is counter-productive to life. Going to war for energy is like burning down your house for heat." But will negotiators at the ongoing talks get the message?
The show is available along with English-language materials at http://FusionForPeace.org/
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Our lead project is the development of a dense plasma focus fusion reactor, using hydrogen and boron fuel. If we succeed, "Focus Fusion" will be an extremely economical, compact, environmentally safe and essentially inexhaustible source of energy.