ITER The Largest Nuclear Fusion Reactor with Delays and Challenges

TapTechNews July 5th news, The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) will become the world's largest nuclear fusion reactor, and is also one of the most expensive scientific experiments in human history.

ITER is equipped with 19 giant magnetic coils. Each coil is 17 meters high and weighs 360 tons. It builds a cage around the donut-shaped cavity called a tokamak to generate a magnetic field to confine the ultra-high-temperature plasma and keep it stable for a long enough time for a fusion reaction to occur.

The temperature of the magnet is as low as -269°C and can also prevent the entire machine from melting under the extreme temperature of the plasma. The temperature of the plasma can be up to 10 times the temperature of the core of the sun.

Although the ITER project has made significant progress, this giant project has encountered more serious delays and cost overruns.

Time Delay

The director general of the project, Pietro Barabaschi, announced at a press conference held yesterday that the project will start in 2034 and start generating energy in 2039.

This is nearly 10 years later than the originally planned time and 4 years later than the latest time announced in 2016.

Cost Spike

Barabaschi said that on top of the existing 20 billion euros, an additional 50 billion euros (TapTechNews note: currently about 39.339 billion yuan) is still needed for this project.

Facing the Risk of Lagging Behind

The thermonuclear experimental reactor was conceived in 1985 and jointly launched in 2006 by 35 countries and regions such as the European Union, the United States, Russia, China, India, Japan and South Korea. The budget at that time was 50 billion euros, and the European Union provided most of the funds.

This reactor is designed for experimental purposes, not a commercially viable reactor. The overall purpose of the project is to produce 500 megawatts of fusion electricity in the long term and prove that the fusion reaction may last long enough to generate electricity.

However, there are already dozens of private companies currently developing their own commercial nuclear fusion machines, and ITER may be outdated by the time it is finally launched.

ITER The Largest Nuclear Fusion Reactor with Delays and Challenges_0