On 28 July 2020, at 10 am, a live broadcast began of the assembly of the world’s first power-plant-sized experimental fusion facility, ITER. ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, is currently one of the largest international magnetic fusion research and development projects in the world, and Hungarian researchers and engineers are taking part. The reactor will be built in Cadarache in southern France with the aim of proving that it is possible to use nuclear fusion to produce energy on Earth for peaceful purposes. In addition, technology used in subsequent fusion power plants will be tested here.

Experts from the Fusion Plasma Physics Laboratory and the Fusion Technology Laboratory of the Energy Science Research Centre (EK) belonging to the Eötvös Loránd Research Network from Hungary are participating in the ITER project. The Hungarian engineers have planned to cable the entire interior of ITER in such a way that it can operate without maintenance for 20 years, and some components were also tested in Budapest. In addition, EK experts are currently working on an important element of ITER, the ‘propagation cartridge’, which will be responsible for the production of one of the fusion fuels within the plant. EK has also recently placed a tender for the construction of one of ITER’s critical pellet injectors, which would provide the fuel supply to a fusion plant.

The start of assembly work is a huge milestone in the life of the project, with most of the construction of the buildings and service units now complete. With the arrival of the first real components, the events of the ITER construction project will accelerate.

A special gift was also prepared for the ceremony at the Energy Science Research Centre. Last week, a 1:100 scale 3D-printed copy of ITER was sent to France.