ITER: EU approves €5.6 billion budget


ITER for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is an international project for the development of nuclear fusion. The objective is to develop, build and operate a nuclear fusion reactor. This Monday, February 22, the European Council authorized the continuation of the European financing of the project.

Read on Nuclear fusion breaks new records

ITER continues to benefit from EU funds: €5.6 billion

ITER will continue to benefit from European funding for its development. The European Council has indeed authorized this Monday, February 22, the continuation of European funding for the project for the period 2021-2027 within the framework of the CPF (Multiannual Financial Framework). The indicative contribution of the European Union (EU) amounts to EUR 5.61 billion.

The fruit of an unprecedented cooperation between the United States and the USSR

A project launched in 1986

In 1986 in Geneva, American President Reagan and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Gorbachev decided together to launch an international initiative to develop fusion energy. The following year in Reikjavik, the European Union and Japan joined the Soviet-American project. They all agreed to pursue together the study of a possible fusion reactor of international scope: ITER.

But the project was really launched in 2006 in Paris. The members, plus South Korea, China and India, sign theITER Agreement. It is necessary to wait until November 2020 to launch the assembly phase of the first elements delivered for the construction of the complex.

The next step, scheduled for March, is to install the first 440-ton sector on a sub-assembly gantry. The sub-assembly, which should weigh 1200 tons, will then be brought into the tokamak, i.e. the reactor.

À lire sur : Nuclear Fusion: China lights its Reactor

First plasma in 2025, commercialized energy in 2050

It is only afterwards that a first plasma can be produced from the fusion of hydrogen isotopes. Why not try to hold it for a while, even if only for a few seconds.

In December, the South Koreans, thanks to their KSTAR reactor, managed to hold a plasma for more than 20 seconds. A record.

According to the European Commission, this first plasma should be obtained in December 2025. Full operation of ITER is planned for 2035. However, energy from nuclear fusion is not expected to come to market before 2050.

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