Tuesday, May 25, 2021

EU: state of affairs of the ITER fusion reactor

 ITER is a unique project, aiming to build the world’s largest fusion machine. By fostering innovation and international collaboration, the project creates economic growth and job opportunities, while putting the EU in the lead of global fusion research. 

The construction work started in 2007 in Cadarache, in the south of France, on a 42 hectare site that today hosts the tokamak, several buildings, infrastructure and power supplies. ITER is one of the most complex engineering projects in history, as it will require millions of components to assemble the giant reactor that will weigh 23,000 tonnes.

The project stems from the ITER agreement, which was signed by 7 partners in 2006: China, Euratom (represented by the European Commission), India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the USA.  Together, they govern the ITER Organization, which is responsible for constructing and managing the project, and they all pool financial and scientific resources to it. Each partner has a domestic agency that manages its contributions; the EU’s agency is called Fusion for Energy and is located in Barcelona, Spain.

In addition to the ITER activities, the EU is also supporting fusion research, education and training activities through the EUROfusion consortium funded by the Euratom Research and Training Programme 2021-2025.

The (near) fusion future

ITER aims to produce 10 times more fusion power than the heating power put into the plasma, making it the key experimental step between today’s research machines and tomorrow’s fusion power plants.

2020 marked an important step with the start of the 5-year assembly phase of the tokamak. The next big milestone will be in 2025, by which time ITER is expected to create its first super-heated plasma. This should reach full power by 2035, with the aim of demonstrating that more energy can be taken out than is put in. 

Even though ITER itself will not produce electricity – it is rather intended to prove that large-scale fusion is possible – it represents a giant step in the creation of fusion energy, and will drive the transition from research to reality.

In addition to the progress on the European site, later this year, the EU and Japan will inaugurate the fusion reactor JT-60SA, located in Naka, Japan. It will be the largest tokamak in operation, until ITER is operational. JT-60SA has been designed and built jointly by Japan and Europe under the “Broader Approach” agreement. Its specific properties are its capability to produce long-pulse plasmas. Its main missions are to support exploitation of ITER (scheduled to start in 2025) and to contribute to the design of the EU’s next generation fusion reactor, DEMO.

You can read the rest of the very interesting article via the below link:


No comments:

Post a Comment