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Power from an artificial sun: Fusion reactor project aims to provide clean energy

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The assembly of the ITER fusion reactor began in the south of France this week in what has been called the biggest science project in human history. It is hoped the reactor will be able to produce clean energy using the same process that fuels the sun.

ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is an international project that hopes to create clean energy from hydrogen fusion, the same process that occurs naturally in the heart of the sun.

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Fusion will be obtained through a mixture of two hydrogen isotopes, heated to a temperature of around 150 million degrees.

“In this space we are going to have a machine in the heart of which a small sun will burn, to put it very simply. This small sun will generate energy. We will use that energy to create electricity,” ITER spokesperson Robert Arnoux told AFP.

A long sought-after alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and gas, hydrogen fusion generates no long-term waste, says ITER, while the fuels needed to create fusion are found in seawater and lithium, and so readily available.

ITER should start producing energy at the end of 2025 or early 2026 but only on an experimental basis. It will be a number of years before it is capable of supplying usable electricity.

“The vision I have, the one I think is most realistic, is that we’ll have to wait until about 2060 before we can connect the first fusion-powered generator to a power grid,” said Bernard Bigot, ITER director general.

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The ITER project began in 2006 with a treaty bringing together 35 countries, including those in the EU, the UK, Switzerland, Russia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the US.

Some environmental groups have criticised the ITER project dubbing it a ‘money pit’ and a ‘scientific mirage’.

The project is already five years behind schedule and three times over the initial budget at a cost of almost €20 billion.

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2020 Election

If Trump loses two more states it’s ‘ballgame over’: AP reporter

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Appearing on MSNBC's " Morning Joe," Associated Press White House correspondent Jonathan Lemire explained Donald Trump's chances of being re-elected have reached the point where, if he loses the electoral votes of one more, he will be out of luck and out of office.

Speaking with co-host Joe Scarborough, Lemire was asked where Trump stands in the battleground states he so desperately needs.

"Both campaigns agree that there are six battleground states to decide this election: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida," he began. "Now the president has to play defense and has had to spend resources and had to go the past week to places like Ohio, Texas -- Georgia is another one where he has to play defense. We don't see, outside of perhaps New Hampshire, a place where Democrats have to do the same now that the Trump campaign has ceded Michigan."

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Trump’s executive orders are confusing and unconstitutional — and likely to hurt his own voters. He doesn’t care.

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As we went into the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had washed his hands of the negotiations over the vitally necessary COVID-19 relief package, leaving Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Tea Party zealot turned White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to try to hash out a deal. Word was that the Democrats had come down from their demand for $3 trillion in various relief programs to $2 trillion, while the White House stuck to its offer of $1 trillion and not a penny more. By Friday, the Senate was going home and the talks had irretrievably stalled.
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Trump administration says US would share COVID vaccine with world after America’s needs are met

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On Monday, Fox News reported that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is offering to share any potential COVID-19 vaccine with other countries, after it stabilizes public health in the United States.

"The U.S. will share any coronavirus vaccine it develops with the globe after American needs are met, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday during a visit to Taiwan," reported Evie Fordham.

"Our first priority of course is to develop and produce enough quantity of safe and effective FDA-approved vaccines and therapeutics for use in the United States," said Azar. "But we anticipate having capacity that, once those needs are satisfied, those products would be available in the world community according to fair and equitable distributions that we would consult in the international community on ... After our departure from the WHO, we will work with others in the world community to find the appropriate vehicles for continuing to support, on a multilateral and bilateral basis, global public health on the order that the United States has done in the past."

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