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‘Some impacts’ of Covid-19 on Iter

Image: ITER Organization, http://www.iter.org/ 

Experimental fusion reactor could still fire up in 2025 as planned, governing body says

The governing council of the international nuclear fusion demonstration project Iter has said Covid-19 has had “some impacts” on the goal to fire up the machine by 2025, but that further assessments will be needed to determine the scale of the effects.

“Some impacts on the schedule towards achieving first plasma in 2025 have been identified, but still remain to be assessed after consideration of mitigation measures,” reported a summary of a 19 November virtual meeting of representatives of the seven full Iter members—China, the EU, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

The summary said the project to build Iter has “largely managed to continue its robust performance”, and that for the time being the council decided to maintain a schedule it agreed in 2016. The summary of the previous council meeting in June warned “the slowdown in some assembly activities might have potential consequences for the project schedule”.

The EU’s in-house auditing service warned on 12 November that the project, which is set to cost a total of €16 billion after several delays and budget increases, “risks further cost increases and implementation delays” and that Brexit could have a “significant effect” on its costs.