Source: Environment News Service | July 3, 3018


Aerial view of the ITER fusion reactor site in thet south of France, April 2018 (Photo by EJF Riche / ITER Organization)

There may be lingering disagreements among China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States, but there is one complex project these seven entities have in common that is on track for success – the world’s largest nuclear fusion facility.

This first global collaboration on building a nuclear fusion reactor is taking place at Cadarache in the south of France.

Construction of the reactor began in 2017 and is now more than 50 percent complete. It is scheduled to achieve first plasma in December 2025. This means that the reactor will be able to generate a molten mass of electrically-charged gas, known as plasma, inside its core.

Deuterium-tritium fusion experiments are scheduled to begin in 2035.

Director-General Bernard Bigot of France said the passing of the 50 percent milestone reflects “the collective contribution and commitment of ITER’s seven members.”

The seven participants in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, ITER, are building the 500 megawatt tokamak fusion device designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy that is safe, abundant and environmentally responsible.

Fusion is the process that powers the Sun and the stars; when light atomic nuclei fuse together to form heavier ones, a large amount of energy is released.

At its 22nd meeting on June 20 and 21, the ITER Council reviewed in detail the latest reports and indicators covering organizational and technical performance.

ITER Council Members jointly reaffirmed the importance of the mission and vision of the project.

The ITER Council evaluated the most recent reports of manufacturing, construction and installation progress for the fusion reactor, including the latest measures of performance.

The Council approved refinements to the construction strategy proposed by the ITER Organization to optimize equipment installation in the Tokamak Complex Building.

With this strategy in place, the project remains on track for first plasma in 2025.

The Council agreed that substantial progress has been made on the fabrication of technologically challenging components such as vacuum vessel sectors and toroidal field magnets, as well as on installation of the cryoplant, site service building and magnet power supply and conversion. Based on the latest performance metrics, project execution to achieve first plasma is over 55 percent complete.

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