Technology 2 min read

Engineers Assemble the World's Largest Nuclear Fusion Reactor

Cosmic Level /

Cosmic Level /

Scientists have been exploring nuclear fusion reactor projects for decades, and it’s not surprising. The process can potentially provide an inexhaustible source of clean energy.

Nuclear fusion entails smashing hydrogen nuclei into each other under extreme heat — ten times hotter than the sun’s core. Along with forming Helium atoms, the process releases a monumental amount of energy.

Scientists can obtain hydrogen fuel required for nuclear fusion from seawater, and it only requires a few grams. Also, the process doesn’t produce climate-warming carbon dioxide.

In other words, nuclear fusion promises clean, unlimited power.

Unfortunately, scientists have struggled with harnessing such an extreme amount of energy, despite six decades of research. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying.

Now, a facility in France wants to show that it’s possible to generate clean fusion power at a commercial scale. International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is set to become the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor.

In a statement about the project, Iter director-general, Bernard Bigot said:

“Constructing the machine piece-by-piece will be like assembling a three-dimensional puzzle on an intricate timeline [and] with the precision of a Swiss watch.”

Here’s why.

Constructing the World’s Largest Nuclear Fusion Reactor

The engineers are using millions of components to assemble the giant reactors, which will weigh a whopping 23,000 tonnes.

Roughly 124 miles of superconducting cables will connect almost 3,000 tonnes of superconducting magnets. Meanwhile, the world’s largest cryogenic plant will keep the whole assembly at -269°C.

The project is reportedly the most complex engineering endeavor in history.

ITER has been in the works since 1985. The project is a collaborative effort between 35 countries. And their goal is to prove the feasibility of fusion energy using a massive magnetic device called a tokamak.

Enabling the exclusive use of clean energy will be a miracle for our planet,” Bigot noted.

A few experimental tokamaks are already operational in the world. However, their sizes are negligible compared with the seven-story ITER.

The machine assembly phase has kicked off at the in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance in France. The construction should last for five years, ending in 2025.

Read More: Waste Products from Nuclear Power Generation Finds New Use

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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