In the French commune of Saint-Paul-lez-durance, started the Assembly process of the first ever thermonuclear reactor ITER. It will be on the Ground to repeat the processes occurring in the stars, when at high temperatures and pressures fused the nuclei of hydrogen isotopes, releasing tremendous energy.
Implementation of this ambitious international project will allow humanity to access inexhaustible energy, paving the way to fusion power plants of the future which should be not only four times more efficient than current nuclear power, but also cleaner and safer for them. The energy sources of the future, fuels which can serve as sea water, there will be problems with uncontrolled chain reactions and hazardous radioactive waste.
The creation of thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) based on the concept of the tokamak is the most prominent example of large-scale long-term international cooperation in the field of nuclear energy development. The project, which aims to demonstrate the possibility of controlled thermonuclear fusion burning time and power on industrial scale, is the result of collaboration between EU countries and Russia, USA, India, China, South Korea and Japan. The contribution of the European Union — 45% of the cost of installation, other countries, including Russia contribute 9 percent. The start-up of reactor, located near the research center of Cadarache in the South of France, planned for 2025, at the same time, scientists hope to get the first plasma. And the process of large-scale synthesis has to be run by 2035.
In an official ceremony held today in the online mode in the research center at Cadarache, was attended by the President of France Emmanuel macron, the representatives of the countries-participants of the project, and a tour of the facility was held by the General Director of ITER Bernard bigot.
Representing the Russian side the General Director of Rosatom state Corporation Alexey Likhachev read out to the participants welcome address of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, where it was noted that “ITER is a Prime example of effective and mutually beneficial multilateral cooperation.”
Vladimir Putin announced that “Russia is one of the countries of the founding members of this initiative to make an important contribution to ensuring the energy security of mankind and plays an active role in its implementation. At the core of the ITER project lies developed in our country, the concept of installation of the tokamak”. According to the President, “today, ITER is entering a decisive phase of its implementation. Despite the pandemic that managed to keep the smooth pace of work. This allows to expect that the project objectives are achieved within the planned time and in the foreseeable future we will get a unique in its power and security, energy source, exploitation of which will contribute to achieve sustainable economic development and improve the quality of life of millions of people.”
Personally Dmitry Medvedev congratulated all participants of the project “from the beginning of a new phase assemblage and installation of the tokamak, which is essentially the heart of the whole project.” According to General Director of state Corporation “Rosatom”, “this is the most important event for the whole fusion community and, of course, for the world of science. Importantly, despite the restrictions caused by the epidemic of the coronavirus, work on Assembly and installation begin in accordance with the schedule.”
Alexey Likhachev believes that “now the main task for us all is to ensure the timely installation and Assembly installation and get the first plasma by the end of 2025. This will allow to demonstrate the coherence of all the project participants and the resulting efficiency of our international cooperation.” According to the Director General of Rosatom, “Russia is fulfilling all its obligations in the ITER project on making physical and financial contributions in full in strict accordance with the schedule. That the Assembly of the reactor started on time, there is a great merit of Russia”.
Highlighting the diversity of work on the project in Russia, Alexey Likhachev said that “most systems of ITER are made and integrated by several partners from different countries. This requires full coherence and consistency”. He is convinced that “at the current stage of the project to the timely performance by each of the partners of their obligations to make both natural and financial contribution, is essential to our overall success.”
The world’s first toroidal chamber with magnetic coil (tokamak) was created by the Soviet scientists in 1954 at the Kurchatov Institute. After this the world was created about hundreds of tokamaks, but they consume much more energy than it can produce. Project “ITER” appeared thanks to the agreements between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in November 1985, the year the meeting in Geneva. It was then that the leaders of the USA and the USSR was accepted the decision on joint research fusion energy for peaceful purposes, and in a year, the Euratom, the USSR, the USA and Japan signed the corresponding contract.
Work on the project began in 1988, and in 2001 approved its final version. In 2003, work on ITER has joined China and South Korea, and in 2005 — India. In the same years, the parties have agreed on the place to build, near the research center of Cadarache nuclear energy in the vicinity of Saint-Paul-lez-durance, Provence in France. In November 2006 the Ministers of participating countries signed the international agreement on the establishment of ITER, and in October 2007 started the ITER Organization, responsible for the construction, operation and subsequent dismantling of the reactor. In 2007, preparations began for the construction site and the construction started in 2010.
Parallel to all the participating countries began to work on the elements of the complex ITER, in which the complexity and adaptability exceeds many modern large-scale scientific research, including the Large hadron Collider. Because scientists expect to receive ten times more energy than it consumes reactor itself. From the start of ITER was conceived as a cooperation of the national fusion programs, so after the launch of the experimental setup in France, all the countries participating in the project will have the technology to build their own industrial plants.
Besides the fact that Russia is the initiator of the Association of international efforts on the creation of ITER, our country occupies one of key positions in the project, making it a fundamental contribution. For the implementation of the Russian obligations in the ITER project meets the state Corporation “Rosatom”, and coordinates the work of specially created private institution Rosatom “Project center ITER”. Russia regularly makes financial contributions to the International ITER organization, manufacturing and supplying for the project twenty-five systems of complex high-tech equipment. Also the project work of Russian specialists assigned to the International ITER organization. In addition, employment in the project supports scientific and engineering teams at Russian enterprises, forms of cooperation with other institutions and organizations, allowing to organize the training of highly qualified specialists in several universities (MEPhI, MIPT, NSU, LSU, MSU, and others).
Video, photo All from Russia.