The ITER Tokamak fusion reactor, currently under construction in France, is undoubtedly one of the most exciting energy production technology projects of today. Could it be that this is the future of energy production? Or do we need to think a few dimensions smaller? In any case, one thing is certain: ITER, with its very complex technological challenges, is also a proving ground for all kinds of high-tech.

The next step of the project has just been launched: the five-year construction period for the reactor has begun (https://www.power-technology.com/news/iter-project-begins-five-year-assembly-phase-in-france/). This is the next big piece of construction for a gigantic, €20 billion puzzle – as the New York Times describes it (https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/07/28/world/europe/ap-eu-france-fusion-reactor.html ).

The ITER timetable

The timetable is now as follows: the plan is to generate  plasma for the first time in ITER in 2025, and by 2035, the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium should be able to fuse, thereby supplying more energy than is needed to start the reaction. More information about the ITER plans can be found on the project’s website, where you can also find numerous animations and infographics: https://www.iter.org/mach

ITER serves and will continue to serve basic research in the future. However, it is not planned to actually generate ‘normal’ electricity here. Would you like to know more about how nuclear fusion works? Here is a compact and useful refresher: https://science.howstuffworks.com/fusion-reactor1.htm

HBK’s contribution to ITER

We will be curious to see how the ITER project develops. And we at HBK are also proud that our technology is part of this gigantic puzzle. Among other things, our optical sensors ensure that stable measurements can continue to be delivered under extreme conditions – cryogenic temperatures, vacuum and radiation. Details can be found here: https://www.hbm.com/en/7403/the-iter-project-optical-measurements-at-nuclear-reactor/

What does ITER stand for?

Finally, one question remains: what does the abbreviation ITER actually stand for? The answer is: International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.

13 August 2020