ITER, meaning ‘the way’ in Latin, has broken new ground in bringing together research teams to form the largest ever international research project. It unites seven international partners and has funding of EUR 10 billion. The EU has been an enthusiastic partner from the start, having been a leader in fusion research historically. It is joined by China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States, meaning that over half of the world’s population is represented in this pursuit of fusion energy. This scale of collaboration is comparable only with the International Space Station, and makes ITER a shining example of European research success.
The partners are building a reactor to test the feasibility of fusion power: the energy source of the Sun and the stars. The pioneering reactor is being constructed under the direction of an international team in Cadarache, southern France. The organisation responsible for delivering Europe’s contribution to the project is based in Barcelona.
Traditionally we have used fossil fuels to heat our homes and run factories. But supplies are dwindling and dependence on oil-producing nations is growing. A rise in energy consumption due to economic growth in developing countries and an increased use of transport in industrialised nations has exacerbated concerns about the sustainability of our energy supply. The World Energy, Technology and Climate Policy Outlook forecasts that energy consumption will double between 2003 and 2030. The pressures of our growing energy demands are reflected in record prices on the world markets.READ MORE