More delays for ITER, as partners balk at costs

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Science  06 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6286, pp. 636-637
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6286.636

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Last week, an independent review committee delivered a report that was supposed to show that ITER, the troubled international fusion experiment under construction in Cadarache, France, finally has a reliable construction schedule and cost estimate. But the report says only that the new date for first operations—2025, 5 years later than the previous official target—is the earliest possible date and could slip. And it underscores the challenge of ITER's ballooning budget. To start running by 2025, ITER needs an extra €4.6 billion that its member states are reluctant to provide. As a result, the report says, its ultimate goal—a fusion reaction that gives off more energy than it consumes—will be delayed from 2032 until 2035 at the earliest.