Surprise: The Gigantic International ITER Fusion Project “May Be Delayed by Years”

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From Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Felix; The 2025 planned date to create a plasma has been set back for “months, even years”.

International nuclear fusion project may be delayed by years, its head admits

Facility in France still far from being able to show feasibility of generating carbon-free energy despite recent breakthrough in US

AFP in Saint-Paul-Les-Durance
Sat 7 Jan 2023 05.35 AEDT

Iter’s previously stated goal was to create the plasma by 2025.

But that deadline will have to be postponed, Pietro Barabaschi – who in September became the project’s director general – told Agence France-Presse during a visit to the facility.

The date “wasn’t realistic in the first place”, even before two major problems surfaced, Barabaschi said.

One problem, he said, was wrong sizes for the joints of blocks to be welded together for the installation’s 19 metres by 11 metres (62ft by 36ft) chamber.

The second was traces of corrosion in a thermal shield designed to protect the outside world from the enormous heat created during nuclear fusion.

Fixing the problems “is not a question of weeks, but months, even years”, Barabaschi said.

…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2023/jan/06/french-nuclear-fusion-project-may-be-delayed-by-years-its-head-admits

A lot of green advocates have talked up fusion as a short to medium term replacement for coal. For example, the Biden administration recently announced a goal of fusion by 2032. Former British PM Boris Johnson announced in 2019 scientists in Oxford were “on the verge of creating commercially viable miniature fusion reactors for sale around the world”

In the light of this ITER fail, perhaps greens will need to keep the coal plants around a bit longer than they anticipated.