ITER will be a tokamak capable of generating 500 million watts (MW) of fusion power continuously for up to 10 minutes. It will be 30 times more powerful than JET and very close to the size of future commercial reactors. The ITER project will, for the first time, allow scientists to study the physics of a burning plasma – a plasma that is heated by internal fusion reactions rather than external heating. It will demonstrate and refine the key technologies for developing fusion as a safe and environmentally benign energy source.
ITER will provide the basis for constructing a demonstration electricity-generating power plant. It is the crucial next step to achieving the goal of fusion energy.
The ITER experiment will generate ten times more power than is required to produce and heat the hydrogen plasma. It will test the heating, control, diagnostic and remote maintenance systems that will be needed in a real power station. ITER will also test systems to refuel the plasma and extract impurities.
… and beyond
Many of the components tested in ITER will be used in a demonstration power plant (DEMO). In parallel to the realisation of ITER, advanced fusion materials research will contribute to the technology solutions needed for DEMO and the first commercial fusion power plants.