Creation of Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor ITER as an Example of International Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Energy Sector

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The article analyses the prospects for the implementation of the largest international scientific and technical project (“mega-science” project) ITER of controlled thermonuclear fusion. With the depletion of fossil fuel reserves, the role of new energy sources, including those that have not yet been developed, is increasing. Due to the extremely high costs and ambitious scientific goals facing the project, its practical implementation and funding are possible in close international scientific and technical cooperation in the energy sector. The role of an international group of seven participants (Russia, the EU, Japan, China, India, the Republic of Korea and the USA) in the creation of laboratory fusion facilities is noted. The choice of a Tokamak-type design for the ITER international reactor being built in France is the recognition of Russian’s decisive role. The article reveals the main parameters of international partnership, the specification of which is carried out on a regular basis at ITER coordination meetings with the participation of representatives of national ITER agencies. The parameters of interaction with scientific institutions of countries that are not members of the consortium are given. The evolution of the project since its launch in 1985 as a joint Soviet-American initiative is shown. Four options for the initial placement of the reactor are considered: in Spain, France, Canada and Japan. The features of the organizational and legal regulation of the international consortium for the management of ITER are disclosed, including the establishment of the ITER International Organization for Thermonuclear Energy for the joint implementation of the ITER project in 2006. The role of the in-kind contribution of countries in international projects in the exchange of unique world-class technologies is discussed. The main goals set by the countries participating in the project and the time horizons for their practical achievement are listed. The parameters of Russia's participation in the project are given, the prospects for further cooperation in this area are evaluated. Particular attention is paid to the peculiarities of the political interaction of the participating countries, as well as to the intermediate results already achieved during the implementation of the ITER project.

About the authors

Andrey Kharitonovich Degterev

Sevastopol State University

Author for correspondence.

PhD in Physical and Mathematical Science, Dr. of Science, Professor, Department of Radioecology and Environmental Safety, Institute of Nuclear Energy and Industry

Sevastopol, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2019 Degterev A.K.

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