Chapter 526: The Higher-ups Value Your Opinion
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
In November 1985, the United States Air Force One arrived in Geneva. The US president at that time, Ronald Reagan, met with the new leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. They began negotiations on nuclear disarmament.
The Iron Curtain was in effect at that time. All in all, this meeting was generally considered as one of the ice breakers for the cold war.
However, the first meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev didnt go as well as expected. The two parties were discussing the Strategic Defense Initiative as well as the debate on human rights and regional issues. The meeting looked like it was going to end on a bad note.
At the end of the meeting, around five oclock in the morning, the two parties finally agreed to issue a joint statement, which didnt contain any actual promises.
At the end of this joint statement, these two world leaders announced an ambiguous statement, which was that the two countries would develop a new energy source that was in the common interest of mankind.
This was the origin of the ITER.
Therefore, about the rumors that America would leave ITER
Keriber himself knew that this would never happen.
Even though the United States had never fulfilled its 25% research funding promise, ITER itself was a politically-motivated project.
Normally, research on controllable nuclear fusion was a lone island, away from all the politics.
However, the premise for this was that no one knew how far in the future this technology was.
Thinking about this from a logical perspective, if he had to choose between working at an American research institute versus cooperating with Professor Lu, he would undoubtedly choose the latter, to cooperate with the scholar who had already made significant achievements in the fusion field.
Unfortunately, as a researcher, he had no power in this matter.
Even the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, who was backing him, had no power.
If the United States put pressure on ITER through the EU and used intellectual property protection as an excuse, kicking China out would be a piece of cake, just like what happened to the Galileo plan.
When Professor Millek turned away and began leaving, Keriber looked at him with a hint of worry on his face.
Strictly speaking, these werent problems that he had to think about.
But if his fears really came true, then the ITER Organization might face its collapse.
After all, this organization was never that stable; everyone was only tied by the same dream.
No one really placed their energy dreams on the futuristic controllable fusion energy. However, as he sat in this coffee shop, he could hear students from the University of Greifswald chatting about what would happen after controllable fusion technology became a reality.
It was hard to tell if the light at the Purple Mountain would really ignite the future energy field or blow out the last flame.
If they didnt have any expectations from the beginning, maybe they couldve gone further?
A man in his early thirties knocked on the office door; he had a lanky figure.
According to him, his name was He Mingxuan, secretary for the Energy Bureau, Director Lus right-hand man.
When Lu Zhou went to Beijing, he met this guy before, but they didnt communicate.
Even though Lu Zhou didnt know what the Energy Bureau wanted from him, he still politely invited him to sit down.
He Mingxuan sat down next to Principal Xu, which was across from Lu Zhou. He said in a sincere manner, I originally planned to visit you at Zhongshan International, but you werent there. This situation is urgent. My apologies for bothering you.
Its fine, you dont have to be this polite, Im on vacation anyway, so Im not busy. Lu Zhou looked at Secretary He and said, Actually I want to ask, why are you in such a hurry?
Principal Xu noticed Secretary He looking at him, so he smiled and put down the teacup.
It seems that you two have matters to discuss, I wont be in your way.
The principal had participated in many national-level scientific research projects, and many of them had sensitive information. He knew exactly what he should and shouldnt listen to.
The old man stood up and left his office.
Secretary He looked at the office door. When it was closed, he sighed and put on a more serious face as he said, The Americans are planning to kick us out of ITER.
When Lu Zhou heard this sudden news, he frowned. Is the source reliable?
Secretary He nodded and said, Im 90% certain. In fact, theyve had this idea for quite a long time.
When Lu Zhou heard this, he couldnt help but worry.
This was definitely not a piece of good news for him.
The STAR-2 project was similar to Chinas original CFTER project; it wasnt affiliated with the ITER project. However, various research institutes around the world more or less benefited from ITER.
If China was to leave the ITER project, not only would it mean that its previous tens of billions of subscription fees paid to ITER would all go to waste, but it would also mean that Chinas controllable nuclear fusion research institutes that were doing academic exchange with other international research institutes under ITER would also be interrupted.
Other than the research losses, the billion-dollar contracts with Chinese companies would also face the risk of being replaced.
Lu Zhou didnt know a lot about diplomatic affairs, but from a scientific research perspective, this was undoubtedly a heavy blow.
Lu Zhou frowned and asked, Whats Americas reason for doing this?
Their reason is intellectual property. United States experts on the ITER board of directors have asked us questions. They think that we have concealed our research results while taking in technology, which violates the spirit of ITER Secretary He had a bitter smile on his face as he added, Of course, they dont need a reason.
Thats right, they didnt need a reason.
After hearing the secretarys explanation, even though Lu Zhou understood the meaning behind it, he still shook his head.
This is outrageous. Weve done our duty in disclosing the research progress on the controllable fusion project. We are not obligated to disclose any additional research. If the STAR computer uses Intels chips, does that mean we can ask them to disclose their chip technology?
Secretary He silently took out his notebook and wrote down Lu Zhous words.
Lu Zhou looked at the notebook and paused for a second before asking, Why are you taking notes?
I think you put it nicely. Secretary He smiled helplessly and said, At least we can repeat that when we deal with diplomatic affairs.
However, logic and reason had never been effective.
Lu Zhou took a moment to process all of this before asking, What are their specific requests?
Secretary He: Theyre asking to send an academic visiting team composed of ITER members to permanently reside at the STAR Stellarator Research Institute, and that they would be involved in the research. Theyre also asking us to release the latest production technology of the SG-1 superconducting coil and all of the technical details for the modified STAR stellarator as well as the control scheme.
Lu Zhou began to contemplate.
The superconducting material was an easy deal. The SG-1 material itself had a public patent while the SG-1 wires were exported to other countries. The only secret involved was the production process technology developed by Baosheng Group with the assistance of the Jinling Institute for Advanced Study.
Regardless of whether they released the technology or not, it didnt have anything to do with Lu Zhou.
However, the control scheme was a big problem.
The control scheme that the Jin Ling University computer science department developed was definitely worse than that of Wendelstein 7-X laboratorys.
The reason why the STAR machine could achieve a one-hour plasma confinement time was partly due to the SG-1 superconducting material, but Xiao Ai deserved most of the credit.
In short, there was no way he would ever release the control scheme.
Making a request like this was ridiculous.
Seeing that Lu Zhou didnt speak for a while, Secretary He asked in a serious manner, This thing is tricky. After we heard the news, we held meetings for two days straight, but we havent made a decision. The higher-ups value your opinion. If Director Lu were free, he wouldve personally came to Jinling to visit you.
In your opinion What do you think we should do?