Scientists have been trying to discover different ways to build the perfect nuclear reactor for decades. The fascination with fusion has led to the creation of more than 200 reactors in an effort to unlock unlimited carbon-free power.
But after more than 30 years of experimentation and research, it appears the world’s most expensive fusion energy project is almost complete.
The journey began in 1988, when engineers began designing the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. Now referred to as ITER, the project has involved 35 countries and a heck of a price tag.
Take a look at a tour of the project via drone. It’s impressive.
Just how much has the 10 million-part fusion project cost? A hefty $23.7 billion.
The 25,000-ton machine will debut in 2025. While that’s still five years away, it still represents the finish line for a project that has taken decades to complete.
The extra dimension of ITER is that it is expensive, as far as experiments go. But it is of extremely high value (low CO2 electricity is of critical importance for society). The ITER nuclear fusion project joins countries together – it is science & engineering diplomacy.
— Real Scientists | Gergana (@realscientists) September 30, 2019
Nestled in France, the fusion reactor features deuterium and tritium as isotopes. The atoms get stirred around inside a chamber utilizing a magnet that drives 15 million amperes of electricity. Let’s just say that’s a lot more power than your toaster oven.
Twenty-four microwave generators and three particle guns that are the same size as semi-trucks heat the atoms to an insane temperature of 270 million degrees Fahrenheit. The end result of those atoms crashing into each other like a scientific mosh pit is a ton of energy.
This project is hoping to use nuclear fusion to power the planet — but it won't be operational until 2035 pic.twitter.com/oxCKE1va4g
— Tech Insider (@techinsider) September 19, 2018
This technological breakthrough couldn’t come at a better time. With so many concerns about the sustainability of our current energy sources, it’s critical that the fusion experiment works out sooner than later.
Do you believe we will be able to unlock the secret of sustainable energy? What are some environmentally-friendly practices you partake in?
Tell us in the comments below!