Claiming that Brexit will not delay the multi-billion-dollar ITER (or the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) fusion reactor being built in southern France, a senior official from the ITER International Fusion Energy Organisation said Monday that India is “on schedule” with its deliveries for the reactor that intends to mimic the sun.
“India has been a fantastic partner. They have delivered consistently on time; great design and interface. I must say that India is absolutely on schedule with its delivery,” said Laban Coblentz, spokesperson of ITER International Fusion Energy Organisation — a collaboration of 35 countries — while visiting Gandhinagar-based Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), the nodal organisation representing India in the ITER project.
India, which has already spent close to Rs 2,000 crore on this project that involves building a 500 megawatt fusion reactor, is supplying nine different packages, including cryostat, cooling water systems, vessel in-wall shielding blocks, radio frequency heating sources, cryodistribution and cryolines, power supplies, diagnostic neutral beam system and some of the diagnostics systems.
“So far, we have just supplied 10 percent of the total contribution India is making towards the project. This includes, one-fourth of the Cryostat which is the world’s largest stainless steel vacuum vessel that will keep the superconducting magnets of the ITER cryogenically cooled,” said Professor Dhiraj Bora, the IPR director. This vessel is being manufactured by Larsen & Toubro at Hazira, and Laban Coblentz is expected to make a site-visit in a couple of days.
The aim of the ITER project, which began in 2006, is to determine whether nuclear fusion can be a source of energy and electricity in the future. Besides India, the organistation has China, European Union, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the United States and others as its members.
The European Union accounts for 69 percent of the members working for the ITER and contributes 45 percent of the construction cost. However, ITER officials said the project, which is expected to get commissioned by December 2025, will not suffer despite Britan deciding to leave the European Union.
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