News of the WeekENERGY

Fresh Start for Fusion Project as New Leader Shakes Up Management

Science  06 Aug 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5992, pp. 616-617
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5992.616-a

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Summary

Last week, ITER, the €16 billion international effort aiming to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source, shook off nagging worries that soaring costs and management problems, combined with Europe's economic woes, could lead to the downsizing or even killing of the experimental reactor. ITER's governing council finally approved the project's so-called Baseline, an extensive document outlining its cost, schedule, and design, and officially named Osamu Motojima, former director-general of Japan's National Institute for Fusion Science, as ITER's new leader. The major steps forward brought almost audible sighs of relief from fusion scientists, who can now look forward to 2019, when ITER is supposed to produce its first plasma.