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Uncharted Territory

自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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(続)Natureに発表された画期的な成果

 


A REPORTER AT LARGE
A STAR IN A BOTTLE
An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out.
BY RAFFI KHATCHADOURIAN
MARCH 3, 2014

前回紹介させていただいた核融合。今週のニューヨーカーの特集のトピックもまさに核融合でした。こちらはフランスで建設が進められているITERというプロジェクトの紹介です。核融合の仕組みから、研究の歴史、現状まで、読み切るのに30分以上かかりますが、大変勉強になるものです。

ITERって何?
ITERは新エネルギー開発の超大型国際プロジェクトです。
 「ITER」は、国際熱核融合実験炉の意で、イーターと読みます。 ITER計画は、平和目的の核融合エネルギーが科学技術的に成立することを実証する為に、人類初の核融合実験炉を実現しようとする超大型国際プロジェクトです、ラテン語の道や旅という意味も兼ねる「ITER」には、核融合実用化への道・地球のための国際協力への道という願いが込められています。
 ITER計画は、2019年の運転開始を目指し、日本・欧州連合(EU)・ロシア・米国・韓国・中国・インドの七極により進められています。



次世代エネルギーの夢に向かって研究に没頭する研究者の紹介というよりも、国同士の政治力などに影響されながら厳しい運営を迫られている現状に焦点があてられています。本島修さんという日本人がITER機構長を務めているようです。

Motojima, meanwhile, was struggling to make the organization simpler and more centralized, but his efforts were trapped in a Catch-22: the Domestic Agencies wouldn’t turn over more control to iter’s headquarters without greater trust in its effectiveness, but the organization could never be more effective without greater central authority. Something clearly had to change. When I met Motojima, he had just returned from Siberia—to visit an iter contributor in Novosibirsk—and he seemed tired. He had his own theory about the sinking morale: it was partly caused by the incessant work, but it also had a psychological component, in that people could not witness the physical manifestations of their work. Most iter employees cannot see the construction site from their windows, or components built off-site. In time, large pieces would arrive. Progress would be measurable. Attitudes would shift. From his office, on the fifth floor, construction on the vast tokamak work site was always visible.

Still, Motojima was weathering fierce criticism. It had been decided in Tokyo that, once and for all, the schedule had to be made realistic. A council member told me, “Outsiders look in and say, ‘This is rotten.’ They say, ‘Oh, the project of fusion itself is misguided,’ that this is an impossible dream. No, no, no! The leadership at iter is what is rotten. We have to converge on a solution, a possible way out of this mess. If we don’t, then we will have trouble—I think a total shakeup of the whole project, the leadership, maybe something else. I mean, any partner country can leave, but that is not very useful, because the project is executable. All the member states are not getting together as one team, with one goal. We have to rectify this.”

The shakeup was unavoidable. In October, a confidential management assessment determined that the project was “in a malaise and could drift out of control.” It made eleven stark recommendations, among them that Motojima be replaced as quickly as possible. The iter Council convened an emergency session. The stakes were particularly high for the American delegation, which still needed to placate Congress. The Department of Energy had offered Feinstein a new estimate of the U.S. contribution—ranging from four billion dollars to $6.5 billion—and she had agreed to fund iter (and the M.I.T. machine), but not without conditions. Twenty per cent of the money would be withheld until the eleven recommendations were meaningfully followed. In essence, she was saying that iter had to turn itself around, or the U.S. role might again be in jeopardy.

まあ、TOEIC好きの人にはSATを取り上げた以下の記事の方が興味がわくのでしょうけど。。。

AMERICAN CHRONICLES
BIG SCORE
When Mom takes the SATs.
BY ELIZABETH KOLBERT
MARCH 3, 2014
スポンサーサイト



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Yuta

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