Fusion Friday (7): The ITER Research Plan—Road to Q=10

The ultimate goal of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is to demonstrate steady-state net power generation from a self-sustaining nuclear burn in a magnetically confined plasma of deuterium and tritium. The performance of a fusion reactor is characterised by its fusion energy gain factor, Q, which is the fusion power generated divided by the power required to heat the plasma, with Q=1 denoting “breakeven”.

ITER is designed to reach Q=10, generating 500 megawatts of fusion power from 50 megawatts of injected power. This talk describes the incremental steps toward that goal which, if all goes well, is not expected to be achieved before 2035.