ITER: need a little more cash, please

We have been hearing for a few weeks now that the ITER project (Read an article I wrote about it for Le Taurillon) need extra cash.

The experimental reactor is not much than a hole in the ground so far, but it is already over budget. From about 6 billions euros, the project price tag now amounts for 15 billions, 45 % of which are paid for by the European Union.

Some people argue that it is a huge price to paid, at a time when Solar and Wind power are taking off and offering much more potential in the short term. However, one should notice that, first, however good and extended those source can be, they won’t be able to support a power grid anytime soon; and second, those technologies are well advanced by now and their development is effectively continued by commercial companies.

Nuclear fusion, on the other hand is promising in replacing nuclear fission, coal, and oil power plants and sustain a large electric grid that would be complemented by solar and wind energy ; but the research still need public funding. Scientific joke that fission has been 30 years ago for 30 years, but if we stop the funding, we’ll never see it.

I understand that the economic situation is not the most favorable for long term and expensive projects like ITER, and I would understand if the funding for the project gets slow down a little bit in the next years, but it would be a monumental mistake to put a virtual/economic stop on it.


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