Fusion project a hot mess


Billed as a panacea energy source for the world, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a fusion technology first conceived of in the 1980s and formally begun in 2006, is billions of dollars over budget and years behind in construction. How much more it will cost and how long it will take no one is saying, reports Scientific American.

It is on its way to earning the dubious distinction of  “the most delayed—and most cost-inflated—science project in history.”

The fusion idea is not new (first attempted in the 1950s) and while the machines have gotten more ambitious, bigger and more powerful, none has yet come close to practical electricity generation.

This boondoggle collaboration between 35 countries is occurring in the south of France and to date has cost about 22 billion. However, a recent lawsuit initiated under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act by Scientific American report Charles Seife, obtained documents indicating this figure was woefully underestimated. Photo credit: IAEA Imagebank

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