Why is ITER valuable for the U.S.?

July 2, 2024, 9:36AMNuclear NewsLynne Degitz

Lynne Degitz

Public and private sectors are actively advancing research and development and concepts to realize a path to practical, clean, safe fusion energy. New fusion performance records continue to be set around the world, including at the National Ignition Facility (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), which demonstrated fusion ignition in 2022 and 2023.

However, significant obstacles for practical fusion remain. One challenge is to create and sustain a fusion power source. That is the mission of the international ITER project and the fundamental reason ITER is so valuable to the United States and the other ITER members (China, Europe, India, Japan, Korea, and Russia). Now under assembly in France, ITER is an experimental facility that will provide essential data and experience while also reducing risk for other fusion concepts. ITER will deliver unprecedented self-heated fusion performance, including fusion gain of up to 10 times greater power out of the plasma than the power into the plasma, fusion power of up to 500 megawatts, and long durations of hundreds to thousands of seconds.

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