Assembly of the world’s largest thermonuclear experimental reactor ITER begins in France

Representatives of the countries participating in the project, including Russia, attended the ceremony in Saint-Paul-le-Durance. It is planned to launch the reactor and get the first plasma in 2025.

Today, after 11:00 Moscow time, the assembly of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) will officially start in the commune of Saint-Paul-le-Durance in southeastern France (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur).

As reported on the ITER website, French President Emmanuel Macron, officials from China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the EU, and the United States, including Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachev, will attend the ceremony at the Cadarache Research Center. In total, 35 countries participate in the project: the European Union as the “host” contributes 45 percent of the construction cost, while other countries, including Russia, each nine percent.

The agreement was signed back in 2006, and in 2010 the ground support structure was erected and the foundation was laid. The total area of ​​the site cleared for ITER is 42 hectares.

This week, the first sector of the ITER vacuum chamber will arrive from Korea (a total of nine sectors will be delivered, four of which are in Seoul’s responsibility). Along with the two toroidal coils and silver-plated thermal shield sections, France will now house all the components needed to build the first tokamak assembly.

Russia, in turn, will produce all 18 upper nozzles (small pipe lengths) required to install diagnostic equipment, plasma heating equipment, and provide access to the ITER vacuum chamber. In addition, Russia delivered all 22 kilometers of toroidal field conductors, as well as 11 kilometers of poloidal field conductors. In total, the country has to manufacture 25 systems for ITER.

The reactor is critical for the study of thermonuclear fusion and preparation for the construction of thermonuclear power plants. According to the plans, ITER will generate about 500 MW of thermal energy and 200 MW of electricity.

In December 2025, they plan to launch ITER and get plasma – this will be the first major attempt to demonstrate the possibility of using thermonuclear reactions to generate energy on an industrial scale and at the same time prove the operability of thermonuclear reactors in practice.