The seven parties of the Iter project signed an implementation agreement on 21 November which will see the world's largest fusion reactor built in France.
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) will be a crucial step in the development of nuclear fusion power stations. The 500 MWt device will be the proving ground for technologies and operational procedures leading to the eventual exploitation of nuclear fusion as a source of abundant clean energy.
Parties involved in the project are: China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the USA and the European Union. The resulting technology will be available for use by all participants.
It took 18 months of debate between the parties to decide whether to build Iter at the European Union's site at Cadarache , France or at Rokkasho, Japan . Finally it was agreed that Cadarache would host Iter, but Japan would host the vital International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility and the EU would agree to support Japan 's bid to host a future prototype fusion power station, already named Demo.
Site preparations have already begun at the Cadarache nuclear research park in southern France and early next year construction should begin. By 2015 it is hoped the reactor will operate and d uring the following years scientists would learn enough to design and begin to construct Demo in 2025. Further information
The Iter project
WNA's Nuclear fusion power information paper