By Michael Banks
To the critics, a working fusion power plant is always 30 years away.
But in the past decade, progress has been made at the construction site of the ITER fusion reactor in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France.
Ten years ago – on 29 January 2007 – preparation work began on ITER’s home in the large stretch of national forest. Within two years, more than three million cubic metres of rocks and soil had been removed to level the site ready for the behemoth.
Expected to cost tens of billions of euros, ITER aims to show that it is technically feasible to get usable amounts of energy from a controlled fusion reaction. The first plasma is expected in 2025, while the first experiments using “burning” fusion fuel – a mixture of deuterium and tritium – are expected in 2032.
The above video – recently taken using a drone – shows that while construction is well under way, there is still some way to go.
We still might have to wait 30 years.