The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is the fusion reactor that everyone is anxiously looking forward to, waiting for the completion of its construction. It is undergoing construction in France and may very well be the fusion reactor that might usher in a new era of clean energy. The ITER has recently achieved a major milestone; it has reached the halfway point of its construction.
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), for those of you who are not aware, is a project partnership between South Korea, Japan, India, Russia, China, and the US. The fusion reactor, ITER, will be generating power by fusing atoms together. If the process sounds familiar, it is because you have read about it; this is the way sun generates its power. Nuclear fusion provides a safer and cleaner alternative to the nuclear fission that is currently powering most of the world’s nuclear reactors.
Despite the many benefits it has to offer, not a single fusion reactor has been brought to reality. There is no fusion reactor of any scale that can power a small town even. ITER is the fusion reactor that is slated to change all of that. The countries came together for the ITER project about a decade ago and had plans of completing it and getting it operational by 2023. However, the project has undergone some massive delays so far. These setbacks have pushed back its completion date to 2035.
The project is about four times over the allocated budget while some critics are also stating that it is not clear if the technology will actually work. The fusion reactor will cost a total of more than $20 billion for its completion. What has been certain and remains certain is that harnessing the power of the sun is no easy task when you are trying to replicate the source of its power.
A wonder of engineering, that is true. But ITER is a proof of concept only, it will produce no electricity.