Thursday, 06 August, 2020


ITER reactor, a promise of peace, moment in history: Macron

President Xi sends congratulatory message to start of ITER Assembly ITER reactor, a promise of peace, moment in history: Macron
Melba Vasquez | 01 August, 2020, 05:30

The ITER is an experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor created to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers our Sun and stars.

General view of the circular bioshield inside the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, southern France, November 7, 2019.

Similarly, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said "the biggest global science project" brings hope to have a clean, safe energy source by 2050.

Fourteen years after receiving the official go-ahead, scientists on Tuesday began assembling a giant machine in southern France created to demonstrate that nuclear fusion, the process which powers the sun, can be a safe and viable energy source on Earth.

When ITER is finished, it is expected that it will demonstrate that fusion power can be generated sustainably on a commercial scale.

Fusion powers the sun and other stars when light atomic nuclei fuse together to form heavier ones, releasing huge amounts of energy in doing so.

GA contributes to the ITER project in multiple ways, starting with research at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, which GA operates as a national user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The ceremony to celebrate the official beginning of ITER's assembly was co-hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and ITER's Director-General Bernard Bigot.

South Korea officially joined the next-generation nuclear fusion reactor consortium in late 2006 that is also comprised of the European Union, the United States, Russia, China, Japan and India.

"Practical fusion energy will be one of the greatest achievements in human history, and ITER is a critical step on the road to get there", said GA Vice President of Magnetic Fusion Energy Tony Taylor.

However, the project has faced assorted delays as a result of financing issues, budgetary overrun and, most recently, set-backs due to COVID-19. Once completed, the 59-feet tall Central Solenoid will be the largest pulsed superconducting magnet ever built, operating at temperatures of 4K - near absolute zero - and driving 15 million amperes of current into the ITER tokamak to heat and stabilize the plasma. If operated continuously and connected to the electric grid, that would translate to about 200 megawatts of electric power, enough for about 200,000 homes.

"Every aspect of project management, systems engineering, risk management and logistics of the machine assembly must perform together with the precision of a Swiss watch", he said, adding: "We have a complicated script to follow over the next few years". Each reactor can power two million homes each at an operational cost similar to those of conventional nuclear machines. This will be an easy task as a pineapple-sized amount of fuel is comparable to 10,000 tonnes of coal. It also uses fuel found in seawater and lithium to help manage the reaction, in which the world is abundant.

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