Global leaders celebrate start of assembly of ITER fusion energy-producing device

Ruben Fields
August 1, 2020

Participating members in ITER include the EU, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the USA, which all share the cost of construction.

The celebration was hosted virtually by President Emmanuel Macron. "And I'm looking forward to seeing these extraordinary components combine to make something even greater than the sum of its parts", Simson said, thanking the European Domestic Agency and Fusion for Energy, as well as all the European companies and research organisations for delivering the European contribution to the ITER project.

A total of 35 nations are now collaborating to build tokamak, a magnetic fusion device, which aims to prove the real potential of fusion as a large scale and carbon-free source of energy.

Unlike existing fission reactors, which extracts energy by splitting atoms, ITER would generate power by fusion, similar to the way that produces the sun's energy.

The chief executive of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) Prof Ian Chapman told BBC News that the project is now on a "hugely exciting phase" as most of the project partners aim to change the world with fusion for the future generations.

At end of this period, in December 2025, ITER scientists and engineers will launch "First Plasma", the initial event demonstrating machine functionality.

If the project succeeds, the humankind could enjoy a new, efficient and safe energy source.

These have been produced by ITER consortium member states, who contribute to the project mainly in kind, by manufacturing components in national factories and laboratories before shipping them to France for assembly.

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Finance Minister Bill Morneau is also facing an ethics investigation because two of his daughter's have connections to WE. The government had previously said the programme would grant up to $900 million Canadian dollars ($670m) to students.

The ITER project was launched in 2006 and had originally planned to conduct its first test run this year, to reach full fusion by 2023.

ITER's Director-General Bernard Bigot the project is "like assembling a three-dimensional puzzle" that follows a complex timeline as every aspect must perform together in extreme precision.

The ITER project is running five years behind schedule and has seen its initial budget triple to some 20 billion euros ($23.4 billon).

Once finished, the reactor should be capable of replicating the fusion processes of the sun at a super high temperature of 150 million degrees Celsius, which is 10 times higher than the Sun's heat.

Deuterium and tritium can be found in the ocean and in fresh water, with pineapple-size deuterium-tritium fuel having the same amount of energy as 10,000 tons of coal.

It could reach full power by 2035, but as an experimental project, it is not created to produce electricity.

ITER, the world's largest experimental fusion facility, is meant to produce about 500 megawatts of thermal power, equivalent to some 200 megawatts of electric energy if operated continuously, enough to supply some 200,000 homes.

If the technology proves feasible, future fusion reactors would be capable of powering two million homes each at an operational cost comparable to those of conventional nuclear reactors, Bigot said.

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