Harness the power of the Sun!
ITER is a large-scale scientific experiment that aims to demonstrate that it is possible to produce commercial energy from fusion.
The Q in the formula on the right symbolizes the ratio of fusion power to input power. Q ≥ 10 represents the scientific goal of the ITER project: to deliver ten times the power it consumes. From 50 MW of input power, the ITER machine is designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power—the first of all fusion experiments to produce net energy.
During its operational lifetime, ITER will test key technologies necessary for the next step: the demonstration fusion power plant that will prove that it is possible to capture fusion energy for commercial use.
The construction work on ITER began in 2010 and is expected to come to an end in 2019. A commissioning phase will follow that will ensure all systems operate together and prepare the machine for the achievement of First Plasma in November 2020.
The science going on at ITER—and all around the world in support of ITER—will benefit all of mankind.
We firmly believe that to harness fusion energy is the only way to reconcile huge conflicting demands which will confront humanity sooner or later.
The issue at stake is how to reconcile the imperative, constantly growing demand of the majority of the world’s population to raise their standard of living … with the enormous environmental hazards resulting from the present energy supply …
… In our opinion, the use of fusion energy is a “must” if we want to be serious about embarking on sustainable development for future generations.
-Director-General Osamu Motojima, Opening address, Monaco International ITER Fusion Energy Days (MIIFED), 23 November 2010
ITER is based on the ‘tokamak’ concept of magnetic confinement, in which the plasma is contained in a doughnut-shaped vacuum vessel. The fuel—a mixture of deuterium and tritium, two isotopes of hydrogen—is heated to temperatures in excess of 150 million°C, forming a hot plasma. Strong magnetic fields are used to keep the plasma away from the walls; these are produced by superconducting coils surrounding the vessel, and by an electrical current driven through the plasma. Scroll over the machine with your cursor to identify the different parts of the machine.