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Will the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) start operating by end of 2025?

Question

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject. It is an experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor which will be the world's largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment.

With thirty-five participating nations and an expected price tag in excess of €20 billion, it is one of the largest international scientific megaprojects.

ITER began in 1985 as a Reagan–Gorbachev initiative with the equal participation of the Soviet Union, the European Atomic Energy Community, the United States, and Japan through the 1988–1998 initial design phases.

The project aims to:

  • Momentarily produce a fusion plasma with thermal power ten times greater than the injected thermal power (a Q value of 10).

  • Produce a steady-state plasma with a Q value greater than 5. (Q = 1 is scientific breakeven)

Currently, it aims to produce its first "small star" inside the ITER Tokamak in November 2025.

By the end of 2025, will ITER announce to have successfully discharged a plasma pulse of at least 5 kiloampere?

For the purpose of this question a lower threshold of 5kA is included to exclude insignificant results counting toward positive resolution. For reference, a Tokamak with a major plasma-radius of 0.9 m (much smaller than the ITER's 6.2m radius), achieved a 10kA first plasma discharge pulse in 2017.

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