Humanosity says this video gives a brief overview of one of the most important energy projects anywhere in the world. A consortium of 35 nations is collaborating to build a nuclear fusion reactor that will serve to demonstrate that feasibility of fusion energy.
Fusion energy is seen as crucial to meeting the future energy needs of the world. However, it is fiendishly difficult to achieve, much more so than the type of nuclear energy we are more familiar with, namely fission.
Fusion is how the sun and all stars produce their energy. In the huge pressures and temperatures at the heart of a star, hydrogen nuclei collide and fuse to produce helium and in the process release a tremendous amount of energy.
To do this on earth the reactor being built at ITER will need to generate temps in excess of 100 million degrees celsius in a plasma that is confined by powerful magnetic fields.
Whilst a number of experimental reactors have achieved fusion no one has yet managed to get more energy out of the reaction than is put in.
This is where ITER comes in. According to ITER the reactor when up and running will aim to be the first to produce a net energy gain.
The world record for fusion power is held by the European tokamak JET. In 1997, JET produced 16 MW of fusion power from a total input heating power of 24 MW (Q=0.67). ITER is designed to produce a ten-fold return on energy (Q=10) or 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of input heating power. ITER will not capture the energy it produces as electricity, but—as first of all fusion experiments in history to produce net energy gain—it will prepare the way for the machine that can.
If they can achieve their scientific and engineering goals then the result will be practically unlimited energy. The bonus is that the process produces a fraction of the radioactive waste associate with fission.