The Iter reactor under construction in the South of France (source: Iter)
The long race towards the possibility of imitating the energy of the stars on the Earth has thus arrived at a crucial point "The civil works have been completed and with the new year we will pass to the assembly phase of the machine", said Orlandi. "In 2025 – he added – we should have the first plasma", meaning that the machine will turn on to begin the testing phase and then the experimental phase ".
"In recent years the works have had a strong acceleration and this bodes well that there should be no reason for delay", said Aldo Pizzuto, former director of the Enna nuclear fusion department, which saw the organization in 2007 and has constantly followed the project.
"From now on, all that remains is to assemble the components of the machine and the next target is set at the end of 2025, when the sun begins to light inside the donut", said the head of the Technology division of the fusion of the Enea, Giuseppe Mazzitelli. "Now – he added – the technical-scientific experimentation aimed at demonstrating that it is possible to produce energy from fusion begins". The initial goal is to produce an amount of energy equal to 10 times the amount invested and in the future it could rise to a yield 30-40 times higher than the initial one. The machine will reveal its potential: "it is the test bed of this energy of tomorrow".
Designed to be the first nuclear fusion plant of a size comparable to that of a conventional power plant, Iter (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is the fruit of a great international challenge to which research centers, universities and industries of the European Union, Japan collaborate. , The Russian Federation, the United States, China, South Korea and India, for a total of 3,500 researchers from 140 institutions in 34 countries. It is difficult to quantify the total cost, which recent estimates indicate at 14 billion dollars.
The European Union contributes more than 50% in terms of funds and components and Italy is at the forefront, with a large group of companies engaged in the construction of 10 of the 18 superconducting machine magnets and the accelerator of neutral beams that allows to start the fusion process, with the Prima laboratory (Padova Research Iter Megavolt Accelerator). The first of the superconducting magnets, born from the collaboration between industry, Enea and the European Union agency F4E (Fusion for Energy), which was launched in November 2017 from La Spezia in November 2017, is expected to start in 2010. currently in Venice.
After switching on, in 2025, at least five years of testing are expected and in 2030 one could move on to the actual experimental phase and then to the Demo technological demonstrator. In 2050 everything could be ready to create a real fusion reactor destined to produce energy on a large scale.