Nuclear, Reactors

Oettinger underlines importance of pioneering nuclear power project

By Diarmaid Williams, International Digital Editor, Power Engineering International

Progress was made on the development of the world’s largest experimental nuclear fusion project in France this week, with the civil engineering contract (worth $400m) being awarded for the buildings on the site.

A Vinci Construction-led consortium of seven companies is the choice for this aspect of the development.

If the $17.3bn project is successful the developers behind the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) say that it can produce three to four times more power than conventional nuclear.

A fusion reaction, according to ITER, happens by fusing atoms together, as against conventional nuclear power where energy is created by splitting atoms.

Overall, Europe is funding the lion’s share (45 per cent) of the ITER experiment, with the rest of the funding coming from China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the USA.

“At this time when the urgency to transform our energy system has been overshadowed by the financial crisis it is important that we keep steadfast in funding projects like ITER,” said E.U. Commissioner for Energy, Gunther Oettinger, at the Cadarache facility. “This project is at the forefront of energy technology research in the world, giving a long term view towards the decarbonisation of our energy supply.”

This article originally appeared in Power Engineering International magazine. It was republished with permission.