The ITER Project

ITER Reactor - Click to enlarge in another window

ITER is the latest and largest project being implemented to demonstrate the feasibility of harnessing fusion energy for the benefit of mankind. In ITER, scientists will study plasmas in conditions similar to those expected in a electricity-generating fusion power plant. It will generate 500 MW of fusion power for extended periods of time, ten times more than the energy input needed to keep the plasma at the right temperature.
Reagan & GorbachovIt will therefore be the first fusion experiment to produce net power. It will also test a number of key technologies, including the heating, control, diagnostic and remote maintenance that will be needed for a real fusion power station. The participants to the project are the European Union (represented by EURATOM), Japan, the People´s Republic of China, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the USA.

The idea for ITER originated from the Geneva superpower summit in November 1985 when Premier Gorbachov, following discussions with President Mitterand of France, proposed to President Reagan that an international project be set up to develop fusion energy for peaceful purposes.


ITER AgreementThe foundation stone of ITER is the ITER Agreement entered into in Paris on November 21, 2006.

The process of selecting a location for ITER took a long time, and was finally successfully concluded in 2005. Canada was first to offer a site in Clarington, in May 2001. Soon after, Japan proposed the Rokkasho-Mura site, Spain offered a site at Vandellos near Barcelona, and France proposed the Cadarache site in the South of France.

Canada withdrew from the race in 2003, and the EU decided in November 2003 to concentrate its support on a single European site, for which the French site Cadarache was chosen. From that point onwards, the choice was between France and Japan. On June 28, 2005 it was officially announced that ITER will be built in the European Union, at the Cadarache site.

ITER Organization is therefore now located in Cadarache, France. The present staff of 500 will soon reach 1000 at the operational phase of the project.

ITER Structure - Click to enlarge in another window