The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) has finally been given the go ahead by French authorities.
The ITER organisation received a letter from the French Safety Authority, Agence de sûreté nucléaire (ASN), on 20 June 2012 which granted a license to build an experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor in the south of France.
ITER is a collaborative project between the EU, China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the USA. Construction of ITER began in 2010 and the Organisation aims for the tokamak to produce its first plasma in 2019.
The objective of the ITER project is to gain the knowledge needed for the design of a demonstration fusion power plant. The aim of the experiment is to demonstrate that is possible to produce commercial energy from fusion. Scientifically speaking its target is to produce ten times more energy than it consumes.
The licensing of ITER comes after a lengthly in-depth technical examination, which began in January 2011. ITER is be the first fusion facility to undergo this licensing procedure in France, a safety contract will now be drawn up which will bind the ITER Organisation and the French state for the installation’s lifetime.
The final decree which should be signed by the French President or his Prime Minister is expected to be issued in the last months of 2012.