The ITER fusion energy project aimed at demonstrating that fusion energy works on a large scale with a net surplus of energy produced – now seems to have secured its future with the United States renewing its support.
It has been uncertain whether the United States will continue its support for ITER. But President Trump has now signed for the United States to continue to be part of the project. And Canada, which has not previously been part of ITER, is considering to join the project.
“This is a very positive signal … it will prevent ITER having to announce project delays in 2018,”
– ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot told Reuters in a telephone interview.
China is planning to build its own fusion reactor, which they claim to be completed before ITER. But China, despite this, will also continue to support ITER.
Fusion energy is based on merging atom nuclear at very high temperatures, which releases energy and generates electricity.
The ITER project in France is all about demonstrating that the technology work. There should not be any energy there. China’s planned reactor, on the other hand, should be able to produce electricity.
The United States has given about $1 billion to ITER so far and had been planning to contribute an additional $500 million through 2025. But with an estimated total cost of about 20 billion euros ($25 billion), the project is more than halfway towards the first test of its super-heated plasma by 2025 and first full-power fusion by 2035.