[Vision2020] Fusion Delayed: ITER Start Date Moved Again

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Thu Mar 11 16:22:42 PST 2010

Practical affordable large scale global roll out of power from nuclear
fusion can't happen fast enough... But I wonder if it ever will be the
promised land of energy salvation some think it could be... Won't the
world's fossil fuel corporations oppose this?

 Fusion Delayed: ITER Start Date Moved Again
by Daniel Clery on March 11, 2010 6:20 AM

The scheduled start-up date for the ITER fusion reactor project looks set to
slip again by 10 months to November 2019. The new date comes less than a
year after the start-up was shifted from 2016 to 2018. William Brinkman,
director of the Department of Energy's Office of Science, said at a
meeting<http://aries.ucsd.edu/fpa/fpn10-19.shtml>of fusion energy
advisers on Monday that the schedule was changed at a
meeting of ITER heads of delegations in Paris in late February.

ITER <http://www.iter.org/default.aspx>, an enormous research fusion reactor
which is shortly due to begin construction in France, is a collaboration
between China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and
the United States and is due to cost somewhere between €5 billion and €10
billion. (The cost is a current bone of contention.) Over the past couple of
years, the funding partners have become alarmed about the rapidly escalating
cost estimates and delays in getting the project moving. The ITER council
ordered reviews of the costing system and the project management. Sources
say that the European Union, which, as host, is shouldering 45% of the
construction cost, has been
more construction time because of concern that pushing ahead too fast
could lead to unacceptable technical risks. Although Brinkman does not name
the E.U., he says that a delay until 2020 was requested but after objections
the meeting settled on a start date of late in 2019.

Brinkman also said that the review of the ITER management structure was
"very negative." Researchers close to the project told *Science *that when
the project was officially created in 2006, too much power was given to the
seven Domestic Agencies, the bodies in each partner that procure parts for
the reactor from industry, and not enough to the central organization, which
consequently cannot manage the project properly. Brinkman says this issue is
now being addressed and told the committee, in less than kind words, what
he'd like to do to the person who designed the current management structure.

The ITER management is now adjusting cost estimates and construction
schedules to take account of the new completion date. Those documents and
the reactor's detailed design must be approved by the full ITER council,
which is due to meet next in June but could call a meeting sooner.


Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
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