[Assam] Assam physicist leads global team to create 'Sun on Earth'

Barua, Rajen Rajen.Barua at amec.com
Tue Dec 26 06:09:51 PST 2006

Guwahati, Tuesday, December 26, 2006

 Prof Dhiraj Bora

Assam physicist leads global team to create 'Sun on Earth'
By Ajit Patowary
 GUWAHATl, Dec 25 - An Assam plasma physicist is leading an
international team of scientists and technocrats to create a 'Sun on
Earth'. The team aims at generating 500MW of power through a process of
fusion reaction stimulating it at a temperature as high as 20 to 50
million degree Celsius. In the process, heavy hydrogen - that is,
deuterium and tritium - will be used. The fusion of this heavy hydrogen
will lead to the creation of helium and high-energy neutrons, and
ultimately the Sun-like energy.

A 5-billion Euro (Rs 25,000 crore in Indian currency) project named -
International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) - is being set
up in Cadarach, Southern France with this aim. Seven parties - the
European Union (EU), India, China, South Korea, Japan, Russian
Federation and the USA - have joined hands to implement this project. 

Prof Dhiraj Bora, an alumnus of city's Chenikuthi Primary School, Manik
Chandra ME School and Cotton Collegiate High School, is heading the
project's functions in the three key areas of central control system of
the machine, high-power heating system and information technology as the
Deputy Director General. Significantly, Bora is the lone Indian at this

The project was conceived in 1996. Both the then Presidents of Russia
and the USA jointly initiated the move to start it. Later, the EU,
Japan, China, South Korea, and of late India, also joined the team.

On November 21 last, these parties signed the treaty for the purpose in
the presence of the French President Jacques Chirac. Prof Bora said that
the project was the leading one of its kind. This is the first burning
plasma experiment on Earth, which will pave the way for future fusion
reactors to benefit the entire humanity. Fusion technology is 'probably
going to be the most sought after one as the alternate, clean and
limitless source of energy in the second half of the current century,'
he said.

According to him, humanity needs such a project to satiate the growing
energy needs in a safe way. The project will 'bring the Sun down to the
Earth without inviting the danger of radioactivity'. Here, the fuel
being used is heavy hydrogen from heavy water. The sea is its perennial
source, he said. 

Most modern technologies, like IT, super conductors, cryogenics,
extremely high-power microwaves and high-power beams, etc., are being
applied in the process of producing the required energy from heavy
water. The best of the technologies available on the earth are being
mobilized to make the project successful. The deadline for completion of
project construction and its commissioning is set to be 2016, said Prof

Prof Bora, who was heading the Indian team in a similar but much smaller
project, called Steady State Super Conducting TOKAMAK (SST), at the
Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, before his ITER
assignment, said that by joining the ITER, India 'would make a leap-frog
jump' passing about two decades in fusion technology with a pace.

Remarkably, Bora is a national translator too. He has translated many
Russian scientific and technical books and manuscripts into English and
vice-versa. He has translated Japanese Haiku into English and Assamese
too. He still writes to his near and dear ones in Assamese and regrets
the young generations' apathy to their mother tongue.

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