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Now while the world waits for the largest tokamak, a product of international cooperation in the ITER project, to come online, and the last magnet has been installed, it is still not ready for full operation. The last magnetic coil has been installed in the ITER tokamak, which has already cost $20 billion, way over budget. It does contain, however, the world’s largest magnet, capable of producing a magnetic field 280,000 times stronger than the one that protects the Earth. In spite of the sanctions against Russia, and the attempt to isolate them, Russia delivered their share of the magnet in November.

While the scientists are duly celebrating the completion of the construction, they warn that it will not go fully online until 2039. “Certainly, the delay of ITER is not going in the right direction,” ITER’s director general Pietro Barabaschi told a news conference on July 3. “In terms of the impact of nuclear fusion on the problems humanity faces now, we should not wait for nuclear fusion to resolve them. This is not prudent.”

The problem seems to be that some of the parts delivered by South Korea did not meet the millimeter required exactitude and it has to be dealt with for safety reasons.There will also be an estimated $5 billion more required from the 35 participating nations, and it could take some time before the required decisions can, or will be, made by the various legislatures. In addition, there may very well be a not-so-hidden agenda behind the delay, as firing up a fusion reactor could well throw a monkey wrench into the Greens envisioned austerity policy, similar to what happened when the U.S. Magnetic Fusion Energy Engineering Act of 1980 authorized the first experimental fusion power reactor to put net power on the grid by 2000.

The July 5 issue of EIR features a May interview with Alain Bécoulet, Deputy Director, Head of the ITER Engineering Domain, headlined, “ITER and World Fusion Work Advance with New Record at WEST Device,” by Karel Vereycken, of the French fortnightly newspaper Nouvelle Solidarité.