The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER),
an experimental nuclear fusion reactor, has officially been
approved by seven international parties during a meeting in Belgium. The
list of international parties includes the United
States, European Union, Japan, China,
Russia, South Korea and India. The project will cost
an estimated $5.9B USD, and is also the world's biggest scientific
The BBC reports "We represent more than half of the world's
population, and recognize that by working together today we stand a much better
chance of tackling the challenges of tomorrow, so energy is an issue of concern
for all of us," according to the EU science and research
commissioner, Janez Potocnik.
The end result of the experimental fusion project should be a cheaper, cleaner
and safer source of energy. Global oil demand and greenhouse gas
emissions will also theoretically drop if the nuclear fusion reactor is successful.
Fusion is a viable energy source because of natural abundance and availability,
while no greenhouse gas emissions will be present. Another advantage of
fusion is that it will not produce any radioactive waste.
But not everyone is pleased with the news. Several environmental groups are against the
project. For example, one of the members of the Friends of the Earth
group believes it would be a wiser choice to invest in renewable energy and
quote: And, worst of all, you will face exactly the same risk of highly damaging radioactive leakage into the environment as you get with a fission reactor. Fusion isn't clean.