Chapter 528: Were Relying On You!
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
The ITER Council is the highest decision-making body of the ITER program and organization. It consisted of four representatives from each seven ITER country members. These representatives were authorized by their respective foreign ministries and were nominated according to the needs of the meeting. Their roles and responsibilities were very similar to those of a companys board of directors.
However, unlike a company, there were no company bylaws that could restrict the ITER Councils decision.
The voting power of the various members wasnt necessarily entirely determined from their countrys technological strength and contribution to a specific field. Rather, it depended more on the international relations abilities of various countries.
One had to admit that the United States was definitely strong in this area. The questions asked by the American representatives to the Chinese representatives were quite scary.
However, at this conference, the situation changed.
At this board of directors meeting, Chinese representative Luo Zhanyuan, who was appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Peoples Republic of China, made a clear and strong response to the request made by the US representative.
We have already fulfilled our duty and obligation to disclose the details of our controllable fusion experiment. If just because the STAR machine uses a certain technology that we have to disclose all of the other technological details, then I must responsibly remind you that the STAR machine control scheme uses Intels chips. Before asking for our generosity, maybe you guys should show a little generosity of your own?
After hearing the translation, the American representative Adam Cohen stared coldly at Luo Zhanyuan and said in a serious manner, This is an outrageous request. Intel is not a cooperation unit of ITER, the chip technology is their private property. Also, this is totally different than what we were discussing!
Even though Minister Cohen spoke in an aggressive tone, Luo Zhanyuan didnt hesitate before making a comeback.
The STAR Stellarator Research Institute and their partner companies are also not cooperative units of ITER. The SG-1 superconducting material technology and the STAR machine control scheme belongs to their respective private units. In my opinion, this is the same as Intel.
Adam Cohen: You guys are manipulating the situation!
Luo Zhanyuan said impolitely, Are you talking about yourselves?
The meeting basically became a battlefield for the American and Chinese representatives. The two sides were bickering back and forth on the issue of intellectual property.
Other countries representatives didnt seem to be interested enough to join in on the dispute, but it was obvious that they werent indifferent either.
Director-General Motojima was also sitting at the conference table. He suddenly sighed gently.
Looks like this conference is going to end on an unhappy note.
The Japanese representative Ishida was sitting next to him, and he turned slightly to look at the Director-General.
Motojima, are you not interested in how Professor Lu did it?
Last year, the Cray-XC50 supercomputer officially became in service for the Rokkasho Fusion Energy Research Centre, to provide computational support for Japans national controllable nuclear fusion research and to contribute to the ITER program. Although the supercomputers computing power was only ranked around 15 in the super-calculation rankings, the supercomputer was designed for controllable nuclear fusion research. Therefore, one couldnt compare it directly to the other general-purpose supercomputers.
Just like how Anton was designed for computational chemistry, Cray-XC50 was equivalent to a large harvester, which was designed for plasma physics and controllable nuclear fusion.
Coincidentally, the Japanese lacked a set of effective control schemes. If China agreed to ask the STAR Stellarator Research Institute to disclose their control scheme, then they could improve their research results.
However, the probability of this happening was low.
Motojima stared at the two representatives bickering and went silent for a while. He then answered Ishidas question, I am curious, but I have to say, this is not an honorable way to go about this. America wants to show its strengths through the ITER project. But the possibility of China compromising is low. If Mr. Cohen continues to stand his ground, the final result might be China getting kicked out of the ITER project.
Ishida asked, Is this not what the United States wants?
Not necessarily. Motojima shook his head and said, At least not before China discloses their research results. Its not in the interests of the Americans to kick China out of the ITER project.
Zhou Chengfu, who was sitting at the conference table, could feel the representatives from the other countries staring at him. He felt a mix of emotions.
Ever since the meeting began, he could smell the gunpowder. Even before the meeting began, he could see the signs of a fight.
First, it was that internal domestic meeting. Then, it was that representative from the Air Force, who was appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Luo Zhanyuans resilience was beyond his expectations.
All of the signs showed that the higher-ups seemed to have given up on the ITER fantasy. It was almost foreseeable that they faced being removed from ITER, and they probably wouldnt receive their next round of ITER funding.
The countrys attitude toward ITER turned sharply. As the director of China International Nuclear Fusion Energy Program Execution Center, he was caught in a dilemma.
Logically speaking, he didnt want to leave ITER.
At the start, they invested a lot of money to join ITER. If they really decided to leave now, not only would it mean that those efforts would go to waste, but it would also mean that the Chinese research institutes that were cooperating with the ITER countries would cease their cooperation.
And the most important thing was that, if China decided to leave ITER, then there would be no point for China International Nuclear Fusion Energy Program Execution Center to exist. Even though they wouldnt immediately disband the center, they would definitely be restructured.
Also, it was foreseeable that Chinas future research in fusion energy would be focused on the stellarator.
And his ten years of hard work
When Zhou Chengfu thought about this, his emotions became more complicated.
Right now, he wasnt sure whether he was concerned about Chinas future controllable nuclear fusion field or his own future
The dramatic changes at ITER wasnt a pleasant thing for Lu Zhou.
He had a lot of cooperation plans with the Max Planck Society, but now, it seemed that the Wendelstein 7-X laboratory might change from partners to potential competitors.
He had to admit that these changes gave him a mix of emotions.
However, the one positive upside was that after he finally completed the design plans for the liquid lithium neutron recovery system, there was a piece of good news from the China National Nuclear Corporation.
Chief Engineer Wang arrived at Jinling again. Not only did he bring hope for using a ferrofluid electric energy generator on the fusion reactor, but he also brought a more detailed design sketch.
Even though it was only a sketch, the entire basic structure and all of the connection port placements for the ferrofluid electric generator were on the design sketch.
Lu Zhou briefly looked at the sketch.
There arent any obvious problems Oh yeah, what is the expected energy conversion efficiency?
Academician Wang: The initial estimate of 50% is a piece of cake. It might be even higher. However, before the real thing is built, its too early to say.
Lu Zhou was surprised. 50%? That high?
Academician Wang smiled and said, Thats just a conservative estimate. Weve talked with experts from the Institute of Electrical Engineering. Like you said, ferrofluid electric energy isnt efficient when used in thermal power, but it is quite feasible when applied to nuclear fusion power. Other than the heating plasma problem and the effect from the carbon deposit and cinder, the problems we encountered when trying to use thermal power are non-existent.
Lu Zhou: How long will it take to build this thing?
Academician Wang thought for a bit and said, Around next year, other than the connection port, the rest of the design is easy. It wouldnt be very troublesome to make.
The generator isnt a big issue, it can be solved with time. When the electrical engineering experts heard you plan on using ferrofluid electric energy for the nuclear fusion reactor, they were thrilled. As long as you can build the reactor, we can definitely handle the generator.
Speaking of which, Im a little worried for you guys. I heard that the United States plans on kicking us out of the ITER project. It looks like theyre trying to set up a technology blockade, are you guys fine?
When Lu Zhou heard Academician Wangs statement, he smiled.
You dont have to worry about this. Talking about it wont do anything. Whether were fine or not, youll know when the time comes.
Looks like youre pretty confident. Academician Wang looked at Lu Zhous confident expression and said, Speaking of which, youre a millennial, right? Do you know what a technology blockade means?
Lu Zhou calmly said, It means that the two dozen or so Chinese research institutes that are doing academic exchanges with foreign controllable fusion research institutes might be suspended from further cooperation. Hundreds of ongoing research projects might be paused or even canceled.
In addition, it would probably affect billions of dollars worth of contracts, as well as hundreds of masters and PhD students
This all could happen, or rather, this would happen.
However, what did it mean?
Would compromising earn them equality and dignity?
Lu Zhou didnt think so.
So you know what it means.
There was a tinge of approval in Academician Wangs face.
There was a difference between talents. An excellent scientific researcher wouldnt necessarily be an outstanding academic ruler. There was a difference between geniuses and leaders.
If there was any doubt in Academician Wangs mind about Lu Zhous leading abilities, that doubt had now disappeared.
Academician Wang stopped smiling and looked at Lu Zhou with respect.
Were relying on you!