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Public Communications by Fusion Representatives:
The Causes of the Confusion

By Steven B. Krivit

Return to ITER Power Facts Main Page

 

SUMMARY
The proponents of ITER, the publicly funded International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, claim the device is the way to a future of virtually limitless carbon-free energy from nuclear fusion.

ITER is designed to accomplish a scientifically significant result, the production of particles from nuclear fusion that have a total of 500 million Watts of power. If it succeeds, that result will also show that the reactor can produce the same amount of overall power that it consumes. In other words, it would demonstrate a net overall reactor output of zero Watts. However, ITER was universally misunderstood by the public, news media, and government officials as an overall reactor system that would produce a potentially usable thermal power output of 500 million Watts. How did this misunderstanding happen?

This page shows the CAUSES.
Click here to see the EFFECTS.

 

Fusion Proponents Knew How To Make Accurate Claims for the Public

 

The accurate way to represent the primary objective and goal of ITER is to "ensure that there is no possible misunderstanding on the ITER energy gain of 10 - [that it is] linked only to the plasma and not to the energy balance of the overall ITER plant."
— Johannes Schwemmer, Director, European ITER Domestic Agency
Nov. 9, 2018 (Source)

 

"The IO Web site now states unambivalently that the performance of ITER will be assessed by the so-called fusion Q, i.e. by comparing the thermal power output of the plasma with the thermal power input into the plasma."
— Arias Cañete on behalf of the European Commission
April 25, 2018 (Source)

But Here's What They Did

Fusion experts: For many of you, the claims below are accurate. For anyone else, they would almost certainly, and they did, cause misunderstanding.

(For reference, here are the specs for a small, working nuclear fission plant)

 

ITER ORGANIZATION HEADQUARTERS
(Officer Statements)

 

Carlos Alejaldre Losilla, ITER Organization Deputy-Director-General (2006-2015)

Presentation at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid — July 2, 2007
"Designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power (tenfold the energy input) for an extended period of time."
Link to source


Swiss Nuclear Forum, Lausanne — May 31, 2012
"ITER will generate 10 times more energy than it receives. Input 50 MW – Output 500 MW."
Link to source


ICRI 2014, Athens — April 2, 2014
"ITER will generate 10 times more energy than it receives. Input 50 MW – Output 500 MW."
Link to source


Public Meeting "Commissions Locales D'Information" (CLI) — July 1, 2014
"ITER doit démontrer qu’une production d’énergie nette peut être obtenue: 50 MW entrée/500 MW sortie."
"ITER must demonstrate that a net energy production can be obtained: 50 MW input / 500 MW output."
Link to source

 

Bernard Bigot, ITER Organization Director-General

Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Energy, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, House of Representatives — April 20, 2016
"Okay, ITER will have in delivery, okay, full demonstration that we could have, okay, 500 megawatt coming out of the 50 megawatt we will put in."
Link to source

House Subcommittee on Energy March 6, 2018
"At JET, we know it could not deliver more than 70 percent of the fusion power it received. Because of the size, it is not possible to have net fusion power. We had fusion power, but not a net outcome. This is why, with ITER, we need a larger tokamak, a larger vacuum vessel, and the expectation is to have 10 times the fusion power that we will feed in with the heating system — 500 megawatts of fusion power."
Link to source

 

Neil Calder, ITER Organization Spokesman (January 2008-June 2010)

NOTE: I interviewed Calder on Feb. 20, 2020. He did not know that he had communicated inaccurately. When he worked at the IO, he was advised by senior staff members that the reactor was designed to consume 50 megawatts and produce 500 megawatts of thermal power from fusion.

Communication Training for ITER International Public Relations Team — April 10, 2008
"Strategy: Implement consistent message worldwide ... The energy coming out of ITER will be 10 times greater than the energy going in. Input power 50 MW - output power 500 MW."
Link to source


Coauthor of New Scientist Article "ITER: A Brief History of Fusion" — Oct. 9, 2009
"In JET, TFTR, and JT-60, scientists have approached the long-sought 'break-even point,' where a device releases as much energy as is required to produce fusion. ITER's objective is to go much further and release 10 times as much energy as it will use to initiate the fusion reaction. ITER will generate 500 MW of output power."
Link to source


Coauthor of New Scientist Article "ITER: How it Works" Oct. 9, 2009
"The aim is for ITER to generate 500 megawatts of fusion power."
Link to source


Coauthor of New Scientist Poster "ITER: The Way to a Benign and Limitless New Energy Source" Oct. 17, 2009
"In JET, TFTR and JT-60 scientists have approached the long-sought 'break-even point,' where a device releases as much energy as is required to produce fusion. ITER’s objective is to go much further and release 10 times as much energy as it will use to initiate the fusion reaction. ... ITER will generate 500 MW of output power."
Link to source, Related article

 

David Campbell, ITER Organization Chief Scientist (2007-2017)

Campbell provided depictions of the primary objective of the ITER project that were accurate For people who are not fusion experts. They are included to show that at least some people knew how, and chose to communicate the claims accurately.


First ITER Summer School — July 16, 2007
"- The overall programmatic objective: to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes.
- The principal goal: to design, construct and operate a tokamak experiment at a scale which satisfies the subjective.
- ITER is designed to confine a DT plasma in which alpha-particle heating dominates all other forms of plasma heating: a burning plasma experiment."

Link to source

Note: This is accurate for non-experts.


Town Meeting, IAEA Fusion Energy Conference, San Diego — Oct. 9, 2012
"ITER is designed to produce a plasma dominated by alpha-particle heating [and] produce a significant fusion power amplification factor (Q ≥ 10) in long-pulse operation (300 – 500 s)"

Link to source

Note: This is accurate for non-experts.


David Campbell (Former ITER Organization Chief Scientist) — Nov. 3, 2016
"• ITER Program Objective: -to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes
• Key Technical Goals: - achieve extended burn of a DT plasma with dominant alpha-particle heating (Q ≥ 10, ~500 s)"

Link to source

Note: This is accurate for non-experts.

 

Norbert Holtkamp, Principle Deputy Director (April 2006 - Sept. 2010)

APS Meeting — October 2006
"Plasma makes 10x more power than needed to run it. ... Have dimensions comparable to a power station. ... Produce about 500 MW of fusion power."
Link to source


NPR — Aug. 20, 2007
KESTENBAUM: A handful of these experiments have succeeded at fusing atoms together, but they require lots of energy to run. And at best, they only produced as much energy as they took in for something like a second.

When it's built, ITER should produce 10 times more power than it sucks up, and it will run for minutes at a time. Add some turbines, and you could convert the heat produced by the fusion into actual electricity.

Dr. HOLTKAMP: ITER is at the scale of a real reactor.
Link to source

NOTE: Kestebaum had not understood that the stated power values for ITER apply to only the plasma rather than the overall reactor. Holtkamp's response supported and encouraged the reporter to continue his misunderstanding: a) of the purpose of ITER and b), the expected power output of the reactor.


Quoted by U.S. Department of State eJournal USA — October 2006
"If ITER is successful, it will be the first fusion reactor device that will create significantly more energy than it uses. ... ITER will be the first fusion reactor to create more energy than it uses. Scientists measure this in terms of a simple factor—they call it Q. If ITER meets all the scientific objectives, it will create 10 times more energy than it is supplied with. The latest device, JET in England, is a smaller prototype that in the final scientific stage reached a Q of nearly 1, which means that it generated as much energy as was put into it. ITER will be the way to go beyond this—a demonstration of creating energy in the fusion process—to a Q of 10. The idea is to put in about 50 megawatts and produce 500 megawatts. So part of the scientific goal of ITER is to first make sure that this Q of 10 can be achieved."
Link to source


Interviewed by Matt Ford / Ars Technica, Report on AAAS Meeting — Feb. 16, 2008
Matt Ford: "Introduced by Dr. Norbert Holtkamp, ITER's goal is to produce a significant fusion power amplification in a long pulse operation (for ~1,000 sec). The researchers and engineers involved come from seven different geographic groups and hope to put 50 MW into the reactor, yet get 500 MW out in thermal energy."
Link to source


Interview with European Energy Review — Feb. 21, 2008
INTERVIEWER: "Critics of the project say that scientific success is far from being achieved. They say, for example, that it is very difficult to design a fusion reactor that produces more energy than it consumes. So far, all trials have struggled to strike this simple balance. Why would ITER succeed?"

HOLTKAMP: "Well, because ITER is a direct extrapolation of JET and JET was able to break even for a few seconds. We can have doubts about Q = 10 [PARENTHENTICAL PHRASE WAS ADDED AFTER INTERVIEW] (NOTE : Q is the amount of thermal energy generated by the fusion, divided by the amount of external energy provided. The equilibrium is therefore at Q = 1 and ITER aims to release Q = 10), on the viability of an operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year; we can discuss it, but we cannot question the fact that ITER will go beyond 'balance'. This is no longer the question."

HOLTKAMP: "ITER is supposed to be a link between the scientific program and an industrial power plant, and here we can have questions. I think we can be part of the way, but knowing whether it will be a complete success is more in the debate. But I still think that ITER will demonstrate industrial viability. This is the challenge of ITER and that is why it is built."
Link to source

 


Falling Walls Conference — Nov. 2009
"What does ITER stand for? Our goal is to demonstrate that it is possible to produce commercial energy from fusion – the process that powers the sun and the stars — to produce at least 10 times more power than we need to operate ITER. ... We will produce 500 megawatts of fusion power and we need about 50 megawatts to do so, that, for us, is a Q of 10."
Link to source

 

Kaname Ikeda, ITER Organization Director-General (March 2006-June 2010)

ITER Business Forum — October 2006
"Plasma makes 10x more power than needed to run it. ... Produce about 500 MW of fusion power."

Link to source


ITER Business Forum — Dec. 10, 2007
"The principal goal: Q>10 — to produce a significant fusion power amplification (tenfold the energy input):input power 50 MW — output power 500 MW."
Link to source


Quoted in The Engineer — Feb. 12, 2007
"‘Even though it will have a 500MW output, it won’t be connected to electricity generation machinery,’ said Kaname Ikeda, ITER’s director-general."
Link to source

NOTE: This creates the misleading appearance for non-experts that if ITER was connected to turbines, and after a thermoelectric conversion rate of 40%, it would theoretically be able to produce 200 MW of usable electricity. This is misleading because it omits the 300 MW of electricity that the machine will require to operate.


Quoted by Fusion Power Associates — Jan. 1, 2009
"ITER is designed to produce 500 Megawatts of thermal fusion power with only 50 Megawatts of input heating power to the plasma and burn for 300-500 seconds (5-8 minutes), [Ikeda] said."
Link to source


Article in Nuclear Fusion — 2010
"This is the aim of ITER, whose dimensions were defined by scaling laws derived from data collected worldwide: to achieve a power amplification (Q) of 10 and to demonstrate that fusion energy is a viable option for producing electricity on an industrial scale."
Link to source


Quoted on ITER Web Site — June 1, 2010
"ITER ... aims to demonstrate that it is possible to produce commercial energy from fusion. The Q in the formula on the right symbolizes the ratio of fusion power to input power. Q>=10 represents the scientific goal of the ITER project: to deliver ten times the power it consumes. From 50 MW of input power, the ITER machine is designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power—the first of all fusion experiments to produce net energy."
Link to source

 

 

Bernard Bigot, ITER Organization Director-General (2015 - Current)

American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics meeting, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 2017
"By producing 500 MW of power from an input of 50 MW—a 'gain factor' of 10—ITER will open the way to the next step: a demonstration fusion power plant."

Bigot's Congressional Testimony — March 6, 2018
"At JET, we know it could not deliver more than 70 percent of the fusion power it received. Because of the size, it is not possible to have net fusion power. We had fusion power, but not a net outcome. This is why, with ITER, we need a larger tokamak, a larger vacuum vessel, and the expectation is to have 10 times the fusion power that we will feed in with the heating system — 500 megawatts of fusion power. So everybody in this audience has to understand there is a minimum size if you want to get fusion power."

Announcement for his Lecture / World Conference of Science Journalists — July 4 2019
“DT is the fuel of choice for reaching the elusive breakeven point — generating as much energy as is consumed.
ITER is expected to be the first fusion reactor to smash through that barrier, with a 10-fold return on the input energy. "

Announcement for his Lecture / Princeton University-Andlinger Center — May 14, 2020
"The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is a 35-country collaboration designed to build a 500-MW fusion plant in southern France, which is slated to be the first fusion experiment to produce more energy than it consumes."

 

Tim Luce, ITER Organization Chief Scientist (2017-Current)

la Repubblica.it — March 10, 2018
Le scadenze che si sono dati i ricercatori americani mi sembrano molto ambiziose, forse anche troppo," ribatte Tim Luce, direttore della ricerca del progetto Iter. "Ma mi fa piacere che la fusione nucleare attiri finanziamenti privati, è un'attestazione dell'importanza di questo settore. Detto questo, i due progetti hanno ambizioni diverse: al Mit vogliono produrre 100 megawatt in uscita con un consumo da 50 a 100 megawatt. Noi programmiamo di produrre 500 megawatt con 50 megawatt di consumo.

"The deadlines that the American researchers have set themselves seem very ambitious to me, perhaps too much," says Tim Luce, research director of the Iter project. "But I am pleased that nuclear fusion is attracting private funding, it is a testament to the importance of this sector. Having said that, the two projects have different ambitions: at MIT they want to produce 100 megawatts at the output with a consumption of 50 to 100 megawatts. We plan to produce 500 megawatts with 50 megawatts of consumption."

American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics Newsletter — Nov. 5-9, 2018
By producing 500 MW of power from an input of 50 MW — a gain factor of 10 — ITER will open the way to the next step: a demonstration fusion power plant.

The Guardian — Oct. 27, 2019
[ITER] hopes to conduct its first experimental runs in 2025, and eventually to produce 500 megawatts (MW) of power – 10 times as much as is needed to operate it. "The role of ITER is to realise power-plant levels of power and gain, and to begin to address the technological needs of power plants," says Luce.

Le Parisien — Feb. 5, 2019 (The journalist's sources were Luce and Bigot)
Objectif: produire 10 fois plus d'énergie qu'il en est consommé (500 MW mégawatts – pour 50 MW). Le record actuel, nettement inférieur, est détenu par le Tokamak JET, au RoyaumeUni, qui n'avait généré, en 1997, que 16 MW. Bien moins que les 24 MW qu'il avait consommés!

Objective: produce 10 times more energy than it consumes (500 MW megawatts - for 50 MW). The current record, much lower, is held by the Tokamak JET, in the United Kingdom, which had generated, in 1997, only 16 MW. Much less than the 24 MW it had consumed!

Intellectinterviews — Aug. 19, 2020
AXELSSON: "[ITER] will be the first magnetic fusion device to produce net energy (more energy output than input)."

AXELSSON: What is Q?

LUCE: The objective of ITER is Q = 10, with the definition of Q as the ratio of the fusion power output to the power necessary input. At 10 it means that we’re getting 10 times the energy out than we’re putting in. The highest value of Q reached so far is less than 1, which means we still haven’t seen a case where you get more power out than what you put in. I believe the highest official value is from the JET Tokamak in the UK, which reached a Q of about 0.7.

 

 

ITER ORGANIZATION HEADQUARTERS
(Web site; listed by page name, then by date
)

I wrote to Bigot on May 1, 2017, about false and misleading statements on his organization's Web site. At the time, his organization made no corrections and he did not reply. After I published "The ITER Power Amplification Myth" on Oct. 6, 2017, his organization began making corrections. On March 28, 2018, I published "Experts Testify Before Congress on Future of U.S. Fusion Energy Research and ITER." The following day, the ITER organization made more corrections. I wrote to Bigot again on June 17, 2018, and identified other misleading claims, some of which he later corrected.


ITER Home Page — Jan. 21, 1998
"ITER will be the first fusion reactor to produce thermal energy at the level of a commercial power station."

ITER Mission Page — June 1, 2010
"ITER ... aims to demonstrate that it is possible to produce commercial energy from fusion. The Q in the formula on the right symbolizes the ratio of fusion power to input power. Q>=10 represents the scientific goal of the ITER project: to deliver ten times the power it consumes. From 50 MW of input power, the ITER machine is designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power—the first of all fusion experiments to produce net energy."
Link to source


Beyond ITER — Sept. 28, 2017
"The current record for energy release is held by JET, which succeeded in generating 70 percent of input power. Scientists have now designed the next-step device - ITER - which will produce more power than it consumes: 500 MW of output power will be produced."
Link to source, Archive Copy June 1, 2010


Beyond ITER — Jan. 28, 2018
"The current record for energy release is held by JET, which succeeded in generating 16 MW of fusion power, for 24 MW of power used to heat the plasma (a Q ratio of 0.67). Scientists have now designed the next-step device - ITER - as a Q≥10 device (producing 500 MW of fusion power for 50 MW consumed by the heating systems)."
Link to source, Archive Copy Oct. 5, 2019


Facts and Figures (For the Press) — Aug. 1, 2010
"The goal of the ITER fusion program is to produce a net gain of energy, and set the stage for the demonstration fusion power plant to come. ITER has been designed to produce 500 MW of output power for 50 MW of input power - or ten times the amount of energy put in."


Facts and Figures (For the Press) — Sept. 6, 2015
"The goal of the ITER fusion program is to produce a net gain of energy and set the stage for the demonstration fusion power plant to come. ITER has been designed to produce 500 MW of output power for 50 MW of input power—or ten times the amount of energy put in."


Facts and Figures (For the Press) Nov. 5, 2017
"The goal of the ITER fusion program is to produce a net gain of energy and set the stage for the demonstration fusion power plant to come. ITER has been designed to produce 500 MW of output power - or 10 times the amount of energy put in. The current record for released fusion power is 16 MW (held by the European JET facility located in Culham, UK)."
Link to source, Archive Copies: Aug. 1, 2010, March 30, 2012, Sept. 6, 2015, Dec. 21, 2016, Sept. 4, 2017


Facts and Figures (For the Press) — Nov. 6, 2017
"ITER has been designed for high fusion power gain. For 50 MW of power injected into the tokamak via the systems that heat the plasma, it will produce 500 MW of fusion power for periods of 400 to 600 seconds. This 10-fold return is expressed by Q = 10 (ratio of heating input power to thermal output power). The current record for fusion power gain in a tokamak is Q = 0.67, held by the European JET facility located in Culham, UK, which produced 16 MW of thermal fusion power for 24 MW of injected heating power in the 1990s."
Link to source, Archive Copy Dec. 26, 2017


Facts and Figures (For the Press) French — Aug. 5, 2010
Original: "500 MW: Le programme de fusion ITER poursuit un double objectif: obtenir un gain énergétique net et préparer le futur réacteur de démonstration. ITER a été conçu pour produire 500 MW d'énergie à partir d'un apport externe de 50 MW, c'est-à-dire pour générer dix fois plus de puissance qu'il n'en aura reçu. Le record de puissance de fusion, détenu par le tokamak européen JET (Culham, Royaume-Uni), est de 16 MW."

English Translation: "500 MW: The ITER fusion program has a twofold objective: to obtain a net energy gain and to prepare for a future demonstration reactor. ITER was designed to produce 500 MW of power from an external input of 50 MW, that is, to generate ten times more power than it will have received. The record of fusion power, held by the European tokamak JET (Culham, UK), is 16 MW."
Link to source


Facts and Figures (For the Press) French — Oct. 5, 2019
Original: "500 MW: Le programme de fusion ITER poursuit un double objectif: obtenir un gain énergétique net et préparer le futur réacteur de démonstration. ITER a été conçu pour produire 500 MW d'énergie pour des périodes de 400 à 600 secondes à partir d'un apport externe de 50 MW, c'est-à-dire pour générer dix fois plus de puissance qu'il n'en aura reçu (Q ≥ 10). Le record de puissance de fusion, détenu par le tokamak européen JET (Culham, Royaume-Uni), est de 16 MW pour 24 MW apporté (Q = 0.67)."

English Translation: "500 MW: The ITER fusion program has a twofold objective: to obtain a net energy gain and to prepare for a future demonstration reactor. ITER has been designed to produce 500 MW of energy for periods of 400 to 600 seconds from an external input of 50 MW, that is, to generate ten times more power than it will have received (Q ≥ 10). The record of fusion power, held by the European JET tokamak (Culham, UK), is 16 MW for 24 MW brought (Q = 0.67)."
Link to source


FAQ — Jan. 9, 2017
"By producing 500 MW of power from an input of 50 MW—a "gain factor" of 10—ITER will open the way to the next step: a demonstration fusion power plant."
Link to source


FAQ — Dec. 30, 2017
"By producing 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of power injected in the systems that heat the plasma — a 'gain factor' of 10—ITER will open the way to the next step: a demonstration fusion power plant."
Link to source


FAQ — March 29, 2019
"In ITER, the programmatic goal, Q≥10, signifies delivering ten times more power (500 MW) than that which is delivered by the heating systems (50 MW)."
Link to source


FAQ — Oct. 5, 2019
"By producing 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of power injected in the systems that heat the plasma—a "gain factor" of 10—ITER will open the way to the next step: a demonstration fusion power plant."
Link to source


FAQ (French) — Oct. 19, 2017
Original: "Conçu pour produire 500 MW d'énergie de fusion à partir d'un apport externe de 50 MW, ITER sera le premier dispositif de fusion capable de générer de l'énergie de manière effective, et ouvrira ainsi la voie vers un réacteur de démonstration, DEMO."

English Translation: "Designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power from an external input of 50 MW, ITER will be the first fusion device capable of generating energy effectively, and thus open the way to a demonstration reactor, DEMO."
Link to source


FAQ (French) — Nov. 2, 2018
Original: "Conçu pour produire 500 MW d'énergie de fusion à partir d'un apport externe de 50 MW dans ses systèmes de chauffage, ITER sera le premier dispositif de fusion capable de générer de l'énergie de manière effective, et ouvrira ainsi la voie vers un réacteur de démonstration, DEMO."

English Translation: "Designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power from an external input of 50 MW in its heating systems, ITER will be the first fusion device capable of generating energy effectively, and will open the way to Demonstration reactor, DEMO."
Link to source


FAQ (French) — March 29, 2019
Original: "ITER est conçu pour produire 500 MW de puissance de fusion, soit dix fois la puissance que les systèmes de chauffage auront fournie au plasma pour le porter à la température à laquelle les réactions de fusion peuvent se produire."

English Translation: "ITER is designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power, which is ten times the power that the heating systems will have supplied to the plasma to bring it to the temperature at which fusion reactions can occur."
Link to source


FAQ (French) — Oct. 5, 2019
Original: "Conçu pour produire 500 MW d'énergie de fusion à partir d'un apport externe de 50 MW dans ses systèmes de chauffage, ITER sera le premier dispositif de fusion capable de générer de l'énergie de manière effective, et ouvrira ainsi la voie vers un réacteur de démonstration, DEMO."

English Translation: "Designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power from an external input of 50 MW in its heating systems, ITER will be the first fusion device capable of generating energy effectively, and will open the way to Demonstration reactor, DEMO."

Link to source


Goals Page (Top) — Dec. 16, 2016
"1) Produce 500 MW of fusion power for pulses of 400 s: 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 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 power, for long pulses (400-600 s). ITER will not capture the energy it produces as electricity, but as the first of all fusion experiments in history to produce net energy ... it will prepare the way for the machine that can."
Link to source


Goals Page (Top) — Jan. 25, 2018
"1) Produce 500 MW of fusion power for pulses of 400 s: The world record for controlled fusion power is held by the European tokamak JET. In 1997, JET produced 16 MW of fusion power from 24 MW of power injected into its heating systems (Q=0.67). ITER is designed for much higher fusion power gain, or Q ≥ 10. For 50 MW of injected heating power it will produce 500 MW of fusion power for long pulses of 400 to 600 seconds. ITER will not capture the power it produces as electricity, but as the first of all fusion experiments in history to produce net energy... it will prepare the way for the machine that can."
Link to source, Oct. 9, 2019


Goals Page (Top) (French) — March 4, 2016
Original: "1) Produire 500 MW de puissance de fusion pour 400 s: Le record de puissance de fusion produite est détenu par le tokamak européen JET. En 1997, cet tokamak a généré 16 MW de puissance de fusion pour une puissance de chauffage totale de 24 MW. Ce ratio (ou « Q ») de 0,67 devrait être porté à 10 par ITER — 500 MW de puissance de fusion pour une puissance en entrée de 50 MW, pendant des périodes de 400 à 600 s. ITER étant une machine expérimentale qui ne fonctionnera pas de manière continue, l'énergie produite ne sera pas convertie en électricité. Cette étape sera réalisée par la machine qui lui succédera."

English Translation: "1) Produce 500 MW of fusion power for 400 s: The record of fusion power produced is held by the European tokamak JET. In 1997, this tokamak generated 16 MW of fusion power for a total heating capacity of 24 MW. This ratio (or "Q") of 0.67 should be increased to 10 per ITER - 500 MW of fusion power for an input power of 50 MW, for periods of 400 to 600 s. Since ITER is an experimental machine that will not operate continuously, the energy produced will not be converted into electricity. This step will be carried out by the machine that will succeed it."
Link to source


Goals Page (Top) (French) — Oct. 9, 2019
Original: "1) Produire 500 MW de puissance de fusion pour 400 s: Le record de puissance de fusion produite est détenu par le tokamak européen JET. En 1997, ce tokamak a généré 16 MW de puissance de fusion pour une puissance de chauffage totale de 24 MW. Ce ratio (ou « Q ») de 0,67 devrait être porté à 10 par ITER—500 MW de puissance de fusion pour une puissance en entrée de 50 MW, pendant des périodes de 400 à 600 s, la première machine capable de produire une une quantité d'énergie nette. ITER étant une machine expérimentale qui ne fonctionnera pas de manière continue, l'énergie produite ne sera pas convertie en électricité. Cette étape sera réalisée par la machine qui lui succédera."

English Translation: "1) Produce 500 MW of fusion power for 400 s: The record of fusion power produced is held by the European tokamak JET. In 1997, this tokamak generated 16 MW of fusion power for a total heating capacity of 24 MW. This ratio (or "Q") of 0.67 should be raised to 10 per ITER-500 MW of fusion power for an input power of 50 MW, for periods of 400 to 600 s, the first machine capable of producing a net amount of energy. Since ITER is an experimental machine that will not operate continuously, the energy produced will not be converted into electricity. This step will be carried out by the machine that will succeed it."
Link to source


Goals Page (Bottom) — Dec. 16, 2016
"ITER is designed to produce a ten times return on invested energy: 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of input power (Q=10). It will be the first of all fusion experiments in history to produce net energy."
Link to source


Goals Page (Bottom) — April 11, 2018
"ITER is designed to produce a ten times return on invested energy: 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of input heating power (Q=10). It will be the first of all fusion experiments in history to produce net energy."
Link to source, Oct. 9, 2019


Home Page — 1998
"ITER will be the first fusion reactor to produce thermal energy at the level of a commercial power station."
Link to source


Home Page, Gallery Image #2 Nov. 5, 2017

The gallery image buttons, and associated text, are visible on the full-screen desktop version of the Web site. The buttons appear as four circles in the top center of the screen.

"The ITER Tokamak will be the largest and most powerful fusion device in the world. Designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power (a power amplification ratio of 10), it will take its place in history as the first fusion device to create net energy."
Link to source, Images added between these dates: Nov. 8, 2015, Nov. 13, 2015


Home Page, Gallery Image #2 Nov. 6, 2017
"The ITER Tokamak will be the largest and most powerful fusion device in the world. Designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power for 50 MW of input heating power (a power amplification ratio of 10), it will take its place in history as the first fusion device to create net energy."
Link to source


Home Page , Gallery Image #2 (French) — Oct. 10, 2017
Original: "Le tokamak ITER sera la plus grande et la plus puissante des machines de fusion jamais construites. Conçue pour amplifier d'un facteur dix la puissance qui lui aura été apportée (50 MW > 500 MW) elle sera la première à générer une production nette d'énergie."

English Translation: "The ITER Tokamak will be the largest and most powerful fusion machine in the world ever built. Designed to amplify by a factor of ten the power that has been put into it (50 MW > 500 MW), it will be the first to generate net power."

Link to source


Home Page, Gallery Image #2 (French) — Dec. 15, 2017
Original: "Le tokamak ITER sera la plus grande et la plus puissante des machines de fusion jamais construites. Conçue pour amplifier d'un facteur dix la puissance qui aura été apportée à ses systèmes de chauffage (50 MW > 500 MW) elle sera la première à générer une production nette d'énergie."

English Translation: "The ITER Tokamak will be the largest and most powerful fusion machine ever built. Designed to amplify by a factor of ten the power that will have been provided to its heating systems (50 MW > 500 MW) it will be the first to generate a net production of energy."
Link to source, Oct. 5, 2019


In a Few Lines Page Dec. 8, 2015
"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 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 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."
Link to source, March 25, 2018


In a Few Lines Page — March 28, 2018
"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."
Link to source, Changelog: March 28, 2018, Archive Copy: April 11, 2018


In a Few Lines Page (French) — Oct. 9, 2019
Original: "1) Produire 500 MW de puissance de fusion: Le record de puissance de fusion produite est détenu par le tokamak européen JET. En 1997, cet tokamak a généré 16 MW de puissance de fusion pour une puissance de chauffage totale de 24 MW. Ce ratio (ou « Q ») de 0,67 devrait être porté à 10 par ITER — 500 MW de puissance de fusion pour une puissance en entrée de 50 MW. ITER étant une machine expérimentale qui ne fonctionnera pas de manière continue, l'énergie produite ne sera pas convertie en électricité. Cette étape sera réalisée par la machine qui lui succédera."

English Translation: "1) Produce 500 MW of fusion power: The record of fusion power produced is held by the European tokamak JET. In 1997, this tokamak generated 16 MW of fusion power for a total heating capacity of 24 MW. This ratio (or "Q") of 0.67 should be increased to 10 per ITER - 500 MW of fusion power for an input power of 50 MW. Since ITER is an experimental machine that will not operate continuously, the energy produced will not be converted into electricity. This step will be carried out by the machine that will succeed it."

Link to source


Introduction Page 2007
"It will generate 500 MW of fusion power for extended periods of time, ten times more than the energy input needed to keep the plasma at the right temperature. It will therefore be the first fusion experiment to produce net power."
Link to source


Machine Page — Nov. 27, 2015
"Fusion Energy - 500 MW Output power"
Link to source, Oct. 6, 2019


Machine Page (French) — Jan. 2016
"L'Objectif - 500 MW 'énergie de fusion"
Link to source, Archive Copies: Jan. 19, 2016, Oct. 6, 2019


Project Mission Page — June 1, 2010
"The Q in the formula on the right symbolizes the ratio of fusion power to input power. Q ≥ 10 represents the scientific goal of the ITER project: to deliver ten times the power it consumes. From 50 MW of input power, the ITER machine is designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power—the first of all fusion experiments to produce net energy."
Link to source

 

 

ITER ORGANIZATION HEADQUARTERS
(Publications)

ITER Organization Press Release — Dec. 6, 2017
"The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a project to prove that fusion power can be produced on a commercial scale and is sustainable."
Link to source 1, Link to source 2

ITER Organization Press Release — July 28, 2020
"How much power will the ITER Tokamak provide? The plant at ITER will produce about 500 megawatts of thermal power. If operated continuously and connected to the electric grid, that would translate to about 200 megawatts of electric power, enough for about 200,000 homes."

ITER Organization Press Release — June 15, 2021
"ITER’s mission is to prove energy from hydrogen fusion can be created and controlled on earth. Fusion energy is carbon-free, safe and economic. The materials to power society with hydrogen fusion for millions of years are readily abundant."

 

ITER DOMESTIC AGENCY - CHINA

Web Site Home Page

No apparent power claims

 

ITER DOMESTIC AGENCY - EUROPE
(A.K.A. "Fusion for Energy")


What is ITER Page — April 6, 2020
"ITER, which in Latin means 'the way,' will be the world’s biggest experiment on the path to fusion energy. It will be the first fusion device to generate more energy than that it consumes."
Link to source


What is ITER Page — April 6, 2020
"500 MW for about 7min - ITER will produce a significant amount of heat in the range of 500 MW for about 7 minutes – enough to satisfy the electricity needs of a medium-sized town during that period of time."

Link to source


Understanding Fusion Web page March 20, 2018
"ITER aims to produce a significant amount of fusion power (500MW) for about 7 minutes."

Dead link to former source

I wrote to Johannes Schwemmer, director the European ITER domestic agency. He made the following correction. He refused to make corrections to any of the other misleading claims below.


Understanding Fusion Web page — Oct. 22, 2018
"From injecting a thermal input of 50 MW into its plasma, ITER will produce a thermal output of 500 MW for about 7 minutes."

Dead link to former source

When the F4E Web site was redesigned in early 2020, this page was removed.


ITER Device Web page — Nov. 13, 2018
"[ITER] will be smaller than a conventional power station but is expected to produce up to 500 MW of thermal power"
Dead link to former source


When the F4E Web site was redesigned in early 2020, this page was removed.

Brochure-EN — Jan. 20, 2011
"ITER is a major international experiment with the aim of demonstrating the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power and capable of generating some 500 million watts (MW) of fusion power continuously for up to 10 minutes."
Link to source


Brochure-ES — Jan. 27, 2010
"capaz de generar unos 500 millones de vatios (MW) continuadamente durante 10 minutos"

Link to source


Fact Sheet — July 2, 2012
"[ITER] should generate some 500 MW of fusion power over periods of around seven minutes under conditions similar to those expected in an electricity-generating fusion power plant."
Link to source


Fact Sheet — July 2, 2012
"Production of 500 MW of fusion power with pulses of around 7 minutes."
Link to source


ITER-The Way - Postcard — Dec. 15, 2010
"The ITER objectives are to demonstrate fusion as a future energy source, achieve steady fusion power production of 500 MW..."

Link to source


Brochure-ES — March 5, 2010
"Pot generar uns 500 milions de wats (MW) d’energia de fusió contínuament durant un màxim de 10 minuts."

Dead link to former source

When the F4E Web site was redesigned in early 2020, this page was removed.


2008 Annual Report — Oct. 16, 2009
"ITER, a fusion tokamak capable of generating 500MW of fusion power for about 7 minutes."

Dead link to former source

When the F4E Web site was redesigned in early 2020, this page was removed.


Highlights 2015 — Aug. 11, 2016
"To produce 500 MW of power from an input of 50 MW - a gain factor of 10 - ITER will need to be connected to the grid."
Dead link to former source

When the F4E Web site was redesigned in early 2020, this page was removed.


Fusion and Industry Together For the Future — May 29, 2009
"Fusion reactions in ITER will generate around 500 MW of heat."

Dead link to former source

When the F4E Web site was redesigned in early 2020, this page was removed.


Brochure-FR — Feb. 11, 2011
"ITER sera un tokamak capable de produire 500 millions de watts (MW) d’énergie de fusion en continu pendant un maximum de 10 minutes."

Dead link to former source


When the F4E Web site was redesigned in early 2020, this page was removed.


High Performance Engineering Document — May 25, 2016
"This means that a typical fusion power of 500 MW will be provided for 50 MW input."

Dead link to former source

When the F4E Web site was redesigned in early 2020, this page was removed.


2009 New Scientist Poster Produced with the Support of the ITER European Domestic Agency — Oct. 17, 2009
"The aim is for ITER to generate 500 megawatts of fusion power."

Original URL now dead, Alternate URL


2009 New Scientist Poster Produced with the Support of the ITER European Domestic Agency — Oct. 17, 2009
"In JET, TFTR and JT-60 scientists have approached the long-sought "break-even point," where a device releases as much energy as is required to produce fusion. ITER’s objective is to go much further and release 10 times as much energy as it will use to initiate the fusion reaction. , ITER will generate 500 MW of output power."

Original URL now dead, Alternate URL

 

ITER DOMESTIC AGENCY - INDIA

I wrote only once to Shishir P. Deshpande, the director of the ITER India Domestic Agency. He made a complete correction.


Web Site Home Page Mar. 6, 2009
"ITER will produce at least 10 times more thermal energy than the energy required to operate it, which can be converted to electricity in future power producing reactors based on fusion."
Link to source


Web Site Home Page — Dec. 15, 2017
"ITER will produce at least 10 times more energy than the energy required to operate it. In future demo or commercial reactors based on fusion, this energy can be converted to electricity."

Link to source


Web Site Home Page — Jan. 21, 2018
"ITER aims to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy."
Link to source

NOTE: There is no remaining misleading claim here.

Deshpande also deleted the electricity statement.


Web Site Overview Page — Dec. 27, 2019
"ITER is an experimental fusion reactor facility under construction in Cadarache, South of France to prove the feasibility of nuclear fusion for future source of energy."
Link to source


NOTE: There is no remaining misleading claim here.

 

ITER DOMESTIC AGENCY - KOREA

I wrote five times to Kijung Jung, director of the ITER Korea Domestic Agency. He wrote back once and made incremental corrections to the ITER Korea Web site each time. Eventually, he arrived at claims that were mostly accurate and transparent for a public audience on the About page, and claims that were "only" misleading on the Business Goals page.


About Page/Project Outline Dec. 20, 2017
"Developing and constructing a 500MW of electricity producing plant."
Link to source


About Page/Project Outline — Dec. 31, 2018
"Developing and constructing a fusion plant producing 500MW of fusion power."
Link to source


About Page/Project Outline — Jan. 22, 2020
"Developing and constructing a fusion plant producing 500 MW of fusion power - The fusion reactor itself has been designed to produce a plasma with 500 MW of thermal output power from 50 MW of net injected power, a plasma power amplification factor of ten (Q=10)"
Link to source

NOTE: The claim is marginally transparent for members of the public. The first phrase, taken out of context, can create the misleading impression that ITER will produce power equivalent to a 500 MW commercial power plant.


About Page/Project Outline — Feb. 17, 2020
"Developing and constructing an experimental fusion reactor producing 500 MW of fusion power - The fusion reactor itself has been designed to produce a plasma with 500 MW of thermal output power from 50 MW of net injected thermal power, a plasma power amplification factor of ten (Q=10)."
Link to source

NOTE: The claim is marginally transparent for members of the public. The first phrase, taken out of context, can create the misleading impression that ITER will produce power equivalent to a 500 MW commercial power plant.


Business Goals Page (translated) — Dec. 31, 2018
"Obtained original technology for construction of commercial fusion power plant through participating in international nuclear fusion experiment with heat output of 500 MW and energy amplification rate (Q) of 10 or more."
Link to source

NOTE: This is misleading because it fails to clearly associate the output and amplification with the plasma, rather than the overall reactor. It fails to disclose that ITER will consume 300 MWe. It gives the misleading appearance that ITER, with an expected overall net power output close to zero, will produce power at the level of a commercial fusion power plant.


Business Goals Page (translated) — Dec. 27, 2019
"Acquired original technology for the construction of a commercial fusion power plant by participating in the construction of an international fusion reactor with a heat output of 500 MW and an energy amplification factor of 10 or more."
Link to source

NOTE: This is misleading because it fails to clearly associate the output and amplification with the plasma, rather than the overall reactor. It fails to disclose that ITER will consume 300 MWe. It gives the misleading appearance that ITER, with an expected overall net power output close to zero, will produce power at the level of a commercial fusion power plant.


Business Goals Page (translated) — Feb. 17, 2020
"Final technology and engineering demonstration for practical use of fusion energy through construction and operation of ITER, which has a heat output of 500MW (Q = 10) compared to 50MW of incident heating."
Link to source

NOTE: This is misleading because it fails to clearly associate the output and amplification with the plasma, rather than the overall reactor. It fails to disclose that ITER will consume 300 MWe. It gives the misleading appearance that ITER, with an expected overall net power output close to zero, will produce power at the level of a commercial fusion power plant.

 

 

ITER DOMESTIC AGENCY - RUSSIAN FEDERATION

I wrote to Anatoly V. Krasilnikov, director of the ITER Russian Federation Domestic Agency, at least six times about false or misleading claims on the ITER Russian Federation Web site. In response, he made incremental corrections and sometimes added new misleading claims. He never attempted to refute any of my arguments.


Home Page — Nov. 14, 2011
"ITER shall generate heat in the amount comparable with commercial power plants."
Link to former source


Home Page Dec. 17, 2017
"ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is the first experimental thermonuclear reactor in the world."
"ITER shall become the first thermonuclear facility generating commercial heat."
"ITER shall generate heat in the amount comparable with commercial power plants."

Link to former source

On Dec. 17, and Dec. 20, 2017, I wrote to Krasilnikov about all of these claims. He changed only the third line. (changelog)


Home Page — Dec. 22, 2017
"ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is the first experimental thermonuclear reactor in the world."
"ITER shall become the first thermonuclear facility generating commercial heat."
"ITER is designed to produce a ten-fold return on energy (Q=10), or 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of input power."

Link to former source

On Nov. 2, 2018, I wrote to Krasilnikov about all of these claims. He removed only the third line.


Home Page — Nov. 2, 2018
"ITER (ITER, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is the world's first experimental thermonuclear reactor."
"ITER will produce heat at the level of an industrial power plant."

Link to former source

The agency updated its Web site and Krasilnikov added the third line, as shown below.


Home Page — Dec. 24, 2019
"ITER (ITER, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) - the world's first experimental thermonuclear reactor."
"ITER will be the first thermonuclear installation to produce thermal energy on an industrial scale."
"ITER will produce heat at the level of an industrial power plant."

Link to page

I wrote to Rosatom


Home Page — May 29, 2020
"ITER ("The Way" in Latin) is one of the most ambitious energy projects in the world today."
"In southern France, 35 nations are collaborating to build the world's largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers our Sun and stars."
"The experimental campaign that will be carried out at ITER is crucial to advancing fusion science and preparing the way for the fusion power plants of tomorrow."
"ITER will be the first fusion device to produce net energy. ITER will be the first fusion device to maintain fusion for long periods of time. And ITER will be the first fusion device to test the integrated technologies, materials, and physics regimes necessary for the commercial production of fusion-based electricity."
Link to URL1, Link to URL2

I wrote to Krasilnikov. He added a footnote to "make it accurate."


Home Page — June 4, 2020
ITER will be the first fusion device to produce net energy*. ITER will be the first fusion device to maintain fusion for long periods of time. And ITER will be the first fusion device to test the integrated technologies, materials, and physics regimes necessary for the commercial production of fusion-based electricity.

* - (Net energy - when the total power produced during a fusion plasma pulse surpasses the thermal power injected to heat the plasma).
Link to URL1, Link to URL2


I wrote to Krasilnikov ...


 

ITER DOMESTIC AGENCY - USA
(A.K.A. "USITER," o
perated by the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory)


The U.S. ITER Domestic Agency never had a dedicated Web site, nor a significant amount of Web pages with false or misleading ITER claims.


Paul-Henri Rebut (Director of U.S. ITER) / U.S. Senate — March 24, 1993
"We are now within a factor of five of what is required for a fusion reactor, a full fusion reactor. This factor will be gained by an increase in the size of the plasma. On November 9, 1991, a deuterium-tritium fuel mixture introduced in JET that was only 10 percent tritium produced over a megawatt of fusion power for more than 2 seconds."

NOTE: Rebut said nothing about the 700 MWe JET consumed. He created the impression that JET produced over a megawatt of power for more than 2 seconds.


Anne Davies (Associate Director for Fusion Energy Sciences, Department of Energy) / U.S. House of Representatives — May 5, 1993
"At Princeton, we expect to begin the deuterium-tritium experiments in September, with the production of 10 megawatts or more of fusion power by next year."


NOTE: Davies omitted to mention the power TFTR would require and created the impression that the 10 MW output would be net power output.


Paul-Henri Rebut (Director of U.S. ITER) / U.S. House of Representatives — May 5, 1993
"The ITER device is foreseen to be the first experimental reactor and will be able to produce high-grade heat from controlled fusion reactions well over 1 billion Watts."

NOTE: At the time, the design objective for ITER was a 1,000 MW plasma. Rebut omitted to mention the power ITER would require. He created the impression that the 1 billion Watt output would be net power output.


Ronald C. Davidson (Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory) / U.S. House of Representatives — May 5, 1993
"This fall, [the Princeton reactor] is expected to produce about 5 million watts of fusion power in experiments using tritium mixed with deuterium."

NOTE: Davies omitted to mention the power TFTR would require and created the impression that the 5 MW output would be net power output.


James W. Van Dam — April 2007
"ITER will demonstrate scientific and technological feasibility of fusion. ... ITER: 500 MW (th) for >400 sec with gain ≥10."
Link to source


Stuart Prager (Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory) / U.S. House of Representatives — Oct. 29, 2009
"By any metric, we are far along the road to commercial fusion power. In the past 30 years, we have progressed from producing 1 watt of fusion power for one-thousandth of a second to 15 million watts for seconds, and ITER will produce 500 million watts for 10 minutes and longer."


Robert Iotti (Chair, ITER Council) / U.S. House of Representatives — July 11, 2014
"We do know that the fusion process produces energy. Aside from powering the Sun and stars, a controlled magnetic confinement fusion experiment at the Join European Torus (JET in the UK) has produced 16 MW of fusion power, and the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory produced 10MW; both experiments sustained the fusion power for about a second and required somewhat more heating power than the power produced."
Link to source

NOTE: Iotti failed to mention that TFTR required about 900 MW of electricity and that JET required about 700 MW of electricity.


Ned Sauthoff (Director, U.S. ITER) / U.S. House of Representatives — July 11, 2014
"ITER can meet its mission and produce 500 Megawatts of fusion thermal power with only 50 Megawatts of external heating power absorbed by the plasma — a factor-of-10 gain."
Link to source


"Questions and Answers About Fusion Energy and ITER" — Oct. 7, 2017
"
The typical U.S. home presently uses about 5,000 watts of electricity on a continuous basis. The fusion process has produced more than 10 million watts of fusion energy for about one second in laboratory test reactor experiments from 1994 to 1997. The ITER international fusion project is expected to produce 500 million watts for ~10 minutes."
Link to former source, Former linked source

On Nov. 26, 2018, I wrote to Ned Sauthoff, the director of the U.S. ITER Project Office and Thomas Zacharia, the director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Sauthoff removed the document and Web page.


ITER Brochure — May 30, 2017
"Fusion power has already been demonstrated in tokamaks; however, a sustained burning plasma has yet to be created. The ITER tokamak is designed to achieve an industrial-scale burning plasma producing 500 megawatts of fusion power."
Link to source

Sauthoff made an incremental correction to the brochure.


ITER Brochure — Dec. 31, 2018
"Fusion thermal power has already been demonstrated in tokamaks; however, a sustained burning plasma has yet to be created. The ITER tokamak is designed to achieve an industrial-scale burning plasma producing 500 megawatts of fusion thermal power."
Link to source


ITER Project — Dec. 24, 2019
"ITER will be the largest tokamak ever constructed and is designed to deliver 10 times more fusion power than the plasma heating power."
Link to source


U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Oak Ridge Site Office Projects — Dec. 24, 2019
"ITER is a large-scale scientific experiment that aims to demonstrate that it is possible to produce commercial energy from fusion. The Q in the formula on the right symbolizes the ratio of fusion power to input power. Q ≥ 10 represents the scientific goal of the ITER project: to deliver ten times the power it consumes. From 50 MW of input power, the ITER machine is designed to produce 500 MW of fusion power—the first of all fusion experiments to produce net energy."
Link to source, Page is a derivative of this page

On April 17, 2020, I wrote to the new director of the U.S. ITER Project, Kathy McCarthy.
Ten days later, she corrected most of it.


U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Oak Ridge Site Office Projects — April 28, 2020
"ITER is an unprecedented global collaboration to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy. The ITER research facility will allow scientists to study reactor-scale burning plasmas--a key step in fusion energy development-- and explore technical challenges relevant to the development of a power-producing fusion reactor. Now under construction in southern France, ITER will be home to the world's largest tokamak and ultimately will demonstrate 500 MW of fusion power for 300 seconds."
Link to source

 


Tokamak Cooling Water System — Dec. 24, 2018
"ITER’s fusion power will reach 500 MW during the deuterium-tritium inductive plasma operation with an energy input of only 50 MW, yielding an energy multiplication factor of 10."
Link to source

 


ORNL Press Release — June 2, 2020
"These critical components will help ITER achieve its mission to demonstrate a self-heated, burning plasma and 500 megawatts of fusion power."

Link to source

 

Other Fusion Organizations

 

European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA) Organization
(Replaced by EUROfusion Organization)

"Cadarache as a European Site for ITER" — Sept. 27, 2001
"[ITER] will produce 500 MW of fusion power during pulses of at least 400 seconds."
Link to source


"Description of ITER" — Feb. 1, 2003
"ITER will be the first fusion device to produce thermal energy at the level of a commercial power station.
Link to source


"Focus On: JET" — March 8, 2007
"[ITER] will be capable of producing 500MW of fusion power (ten times that needed to heat the plasma). In comparison, JET can only produce fusion power that is ~70% of the power needed to heat the plasma."

Link to source


Francesco Romanelli (EFDA Leader)/ Science Node — Oct. 19, 2011
"But, it takes more energy than it produces - JET produced 16 megawatts (MW) of power output, but required 24 MW of power input. Energy gain will be the goal of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) that will be built in Cadarache, France in the next few years. "It will have a net energy gain of 10, requiring a 50 MW input for a 500 MW output, which is approaching the levels we will need for commercial power stations," said Romanelli.
Link to source


EFDA "Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy" — November 2012
Authors: Francesco Romanelli, Derek Stork, Rudolf Neu, Gianfranco Federici, Pietro Barabaschi, Lorne D. Horton, Hartmut Zohm, and Duarte Borba
"ITER, the world’s largest and most advanced fusion experiment, will be the first magnetic confinement device to produce a net surplus of fusion energy. It is designed to generate 500 MW fusion power which is equivalent to the capacity of a medium size power plant. As the injected power will be 50MW, this corresponds to a fusion gain Q=10. ITER will also demonstrate the main technologies for a fusion power plant."
Link to source

"Roadmap" became the most commonly cited authoritative reference for the ITER primary design objective and mission. EUROfusion replaced it with an updated document in 2018.


Web page "JET" — Jan 30, 2013
"While JET represents a pure scientific experiment, the reactor scale experiment ITER is designed to deliver ten times the power it consumes."
Link to source


Web page "ABOUT-ITER" — Sept. 27, 2012
"It is designed to produce approximately 500 megawatts of fusion power sustained for more than 400 seconds. ITER will be the first fusion experiment with an output power higher than the input power."
Link to source

 

EUROfusion

On Oct. 11, 2017, I sent an e-mail to Petra Nieckchen, the head of the EUROfusion communications office, and advised her of the false statements on three EUROfusion Web site pages. She replied the next day: "We have been following your reports with interest. We are currently editing our Web site content anyway to prepare for a re-launch later this year. In this process, we will be paying special attention to the statements you pointed out to us." She did nothing to correct the false claims.

On Nov. 21, 2017, I sent another e-mail to Nieckchen and copied the message to a dozen scientific representatives of EUROfusion. Forty-eight hours later, Nieckchen replaced the false claims with accurate statements.

In April 2018, during an overhaul of its Web site, EUROfusion removed its entire ITER Web page. On the JET page, EUROfusion removed a description of ITER that had an inaccurate power claim. In the menu on the revised EUROfusion Web site, under the list of fusion devices, ITER was not listed.

I asked Tony Donné, the program manager for EUROfusion since its inception, why his organization was no longer providing information about the ITER fusion reactor. Donné said "We are not responsible for designing and building ITER."

Two years earlier, Donné said this about ITER: "Because ITER is the key facility of the EUROfusion roadmap, the consortium allocates considerable resources to ITER and its accompanying experiments." Link to source


JET Page — Oct. 1, 2017
"ITER is designed to deliver 10 times more power than it consumes."
Link to former source


JET Page — Nov. 23, 2017
"The international experiment ITER is designed to confine a reactor-scale plasma. It will generate, in the plasma, 10 times more power than the power put into the plasma."
Link to former source

NOTE: This is accurate for non-experts.


ITER Page — Oct. 11, 2017
"[ITER will] generate 500 MW fusion power, which is equivalent to the capacity of a medium-size power plant."

Link to former source


ITER Page — Nov. 23, 2017
"The ITER experiment is designed to confine a reactor-scale plasma. In this plasma, it will generate 10 times more power than the power put into the plasma."
Link to former source

NOTE: This is accurate for non-experts.


FAQ Page — April 9, 2015
"ITER is expected to produce 10 times the power consumed."

Link to former source


FAQ Page — Nov. 23, 2017
"ITER is expected to produce in the plasma 10 times more power than the power put into the plasma."
Link to former source

NOTE: This is accurate for non-experts.


European Research Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy (Condensed Version) — Sept. 24, 2018
"ITER will generate ten times more fusion power than the power injected to sustain the fusion process."
Link to source

"Magnetic confinement fusion has demonstrated that energy can be produced."
Link to source

NOTE: With respect to the normal use of language, this is a false statement. The "production" of energy from any system means converting mass in such a way that more energy is released from the system than is required to operate the system. No magnetic confinement fusion system has ever done this, and thus no such system has demonstrated that energy can be produced.

"Now its feasibility at a scale approaching a power plant will be proven. This is the purpose of ITER."
Link to source

NOTE: Because the overall ITER reactor is expected to produce about zero net power, it is misleading to suggest that ITER will produce power near the level of a working power plant.

"At its highest performance 500 MW of fusion power will be generated in the plasma, while only 50 MW of power will be injected into the plasma chamber. ITER will not generate any electricity, but demonstrate magnetic confinement fusion at near power plant size."
Link to source

NOTE: Because the ITER reactor is expected to demonstrate an effective net power output of about zero, it will not demonstrate magnetic confinement fusion at near power plant size."


European Research Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy (Long Version) — Nov. 7, 2018
"Technical demonstration of large scale fusion power – this is the first goal of ITER (500 MW for 400 seconds)"
Link to source

"ITER, the world’s largest and most advanced fusion experiment, will be the first magnetic confinement device to produce a net surplus of fusion energy. It is designed to generate 500 MW fusion power which is equivalent to the thermal output of a medium size power plant. For a planned injected power of 50 MW, this corresponds to a fusion gain Q=10 in the plasma."
Link to source

 

FuseNet Association

Roger Jaspers, the chairman of FuseNet, was most unwilling to correct the FuseNet Web site. I wrote to FuseNet seven times between June 17, 2018 and Jan. 27, 2019. Here are the final six letters.


Roger Jaspers "Final Report" — April 1, 2014
The ITER project, the first fusion test reactor that will produce about the same amount of power as a gas power station (500 MW), albeit as scientific proof-of-principle and not as production facility. The reactor will work as power amplifier with a power amplification of 10.
Link to source


Node 39 — July 9, 2011
"The fusion reactor itself has been designed to produce 500 MW of output power , or ten times the amount of power put in."
Link to source


Node 39 — Dec. 12, 2018
"The fusion reactor itself has been designed to produce 500 MW of thermal output power for 50 MW of net input power, or ten times the amount of power put in."
Link to source


Node 39 — Jan. 15, 2019
"The fusion reactor itself has been designed to produce 500 MW of thermal output power for 50 MW of net injected power, a plasma power amplification factor of ten (Q=10)."
Link to source


Node 39 — Jan. 29, 2019
"The fusion reactor itself has been designed to produce a plasma with 500 MW of thermal output power for 50 MW of net injected power, a plasma power amplification factor of ten (Q=10)."
Link to source

NOTE: This is accurate for non-experts.


Node 40 — July 9, 2011
"Although the point of breakeven - where more energy comes out of the reaction than is put into the reaction - has been reached, there is still more work to do."
Link to source


NOTE: This claim doesn't clearly distinguish between reactor power balance versus plasma power balance.


Node 40 — Dec. 12, 2018
"Although the point of breakeven - where more energy comes out of the reaction than is put into the reaction - has almost been reached (the JET experiment reached 65% of scientific breakeven in 1997), there is still more work to do."
Link to source

NOTE: This is marginally accurate but relies on the presumption that the reader knows the difference between the terms "scientific breakeven" and "engineering breakeven."

 

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

IAEA News Story — Dec. 3, 2002
"Under ideal conditions ITER will be able to produce ten times more power through the fusion process than is input into the plasma from outside (i.e. 500 megawatts produced from 50 megawatts input)."

Link to source


IAEA Newsletter — March 2006
"ITER is the first fusion experiment that produces up to 500 MW net thermal power output."
Link to source

NOTE: If ITER was truly designed to produce 500 MW net thermal power output, that would be equivalent to 200 MWe at 40% TEC. Instead, an apples-to-apples comparison of electricity in and equivalent electricity out for ITER = negative 26 MWe.


IAEA FAQ (Fusion) Web Page — June 12, 2018
"At present, fusion devices produce more than ten megawatts of fusion power. ITER will be capable of producing 500 megawatts of fusion power. Although this will be on the scale needed for a power station, there are still some technological issues to address before a commercial power plant can operate."
Link to source


IAEA Fusion Web Page — June 1, 2018
"The reactor is designed to achieve a fusion power gain of at least 10 and produce 500 Megawatt (MW) of fusion power."
Link to source


Matteo Barbarino, IAEA — May 11, 2018
"[ITER] is expected to demonstrate by the late 2030s that fusion can be used to generate net energy, i.e. produce more energy than supplied to it to feed the reactor."
Link to source

 

PRINCETON PLASMA PHYSICS LABORATORY (PPPL)
A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory

Stewart C. Prager, PPPL Director - Testimony to Congressional Committee — Oct. 29, 2009
"By any metric, we are far along the road to commercial fusion power. In the past 30 years, we have progressed from producing 1 watt of fusion power for one-thousandth of a second to 15 million watts for seconds, and ITER will produce 500 million watts for 10 minutes and longer. ... The most recent National Academy study notes remarkable progress in recent years. But my focus today is the future, the remainder of the journey to fusion power."

NOTE: Prager gave no indication that his first and third uses of the phrase fusion power were completely different than his second use of the phrase fusion power.

 


ITER and the Promise of Fusion Energy Brochure — as of February 2012

Link to source1 - Link to source 2

NOTE: The values shown in the image above do not include the power required to operate the respective reactors. JET, for example (incorrectly listed as the 1995 result) could not possibly have provided electrical power for 6,400 homes because the 16 MW thermal power it produced by fusion required 700 MW of input electricity. Likewise, ITER, according to its design, can not theoretically provide any electrical power because it is designed to consume 300 million Watts of electricity.


John Greenwald, PPPL Science Editor, Press Release — Dec. 11, 2013
"[The Princeton TFTR reactor produced] a world-record burst of more than 3 million Watts of fusion energy - enough to momentarily light some 3,000 homes. ... It did so again the very next day when TFTR shattered the mark by creating more than 6 million watts of fusion energy."
Link to source

NOTE: TFTR consumed 950 million Watts of electricity, not enough to make one Watt of excess power from fusion.


Conversation with Luca Comisso, PPPL Postdoc — Dec. 16, 2016
Krivit: "How much total input power will the entire reactor require to produce that 500 MW?"
Comisso: "One tenth, i.e. 50 MW."

NOTE: This conversation has been included for context. The full conversation clearly indicates that Comisso was not one of the people who caused the miscommunications. He was one of the many people who were effected by it.


John Greenwald, PPPL Science Editor, Sept. 26, 2017, Press Release — Sept. 30, 2017
"ITER, the international tokamak under construction in France that will be the first magnetic fusion device to produce net energy... this indicates that ITER can produce 10 times more power than it consumes, as planned."
Link to source

On Oct. 13, 2017, I sent an e-mail to John Greenwald, science editor for the U.S. DOE Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, and Rick Borchelt, the director of the Office for Communications and Public Affairs of the U.S. DOE Office of Science, and notified them of the second false statement. I have spoken with Greenwald and examined his writing. He was not one of the people who knowingly caused the miscommunications. He was effected by the poor communication of the scientists in his organization.


John Greenwald, PPPL Science Editor, Sept. 26, 2017, Press Release — Dec. 29, 2018
"ITER, the international tokamak under construction in France that will be the first magnetic fusion device to produce net energy... this indicates that ITER can produce 10 times more power than it will take to heat the plasma, as planned."
Link to source


Jeanne Jackson DeVoe, Princeton University News Story — Oct. 5, 2017
"[ITER is] a massive project that will provide 120 megawatts of power - enough to light up a small city. ... ITER will be the largest and most powerful fusion machine in the world. Designed to produce 500 megawatts of fusion power for 50 megawatts of input power, it will be the first fusion device to create net energy —it will get more energy out than is put in."
Link to source


John Greenwald, PPPL Science Editor, Jan. 23, 2018, Press Release — Jan. 23, 2018
"ITER is the international fusion facility under construction in France to demonstrate the ability to produce 10 times more power than it consumes."
Link to source 1, Link to source 2

On Jan. 23, 2018, I sent an e-mail to Greenwald and Borchelt and notified them of the false statement. They did not respond. On Jan. 26, 2018, I spoke with Greenwald, and he said he intended to change his text. He did not change his text. On Feb. 5, 2018, I advised Richard Hawryluk, the interim PPPL laboratory director, that this statement was false and misleading. Hawryluk directed Greenwald to make a partial correction within 24 hours.(changelog)


John Greenwald, PPPL Science Editor, Jan. 23, 2018, Press Release — Feb. 6, 2018
"ITER is the international fusion facility under construction in France to demonstrate the ability to produce 10 times more power than used to heat the plasma."
Link to source 1, Link to source 2

On Feb. 6, 2018, I advised Hawryluk that this is a misleading statement because 150 MW of power will be used to heat the plasma, which would demonstrate the ability to produce 3 times more power than used to heat the plasma. Hawryluk made no further change.


John Greenwald, PPPL Science Editor, Aug. 21, 2018, Press Release
"ITER, the international experiment under construction in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power."
Link to source

Greenwald, like many fusion representatives in 2017-2018, stopped publishing false and misleading power claims and instead used the ambiguous phrase above to describe the mission of ITER.

 

UNITED KINGDOM ATOMIC ENERGY AUTHORITY (UKAEA)
(Chief Executive Officer Statements)

Chris Llewellyn Smith and Steve Cowley / The Royal Society — 2010
"As the successful demonstration of 16 MW of fusion in 1997 in the Joint European Torus showed, fusion works. The central issue is therefore to make it work reliably and economically on the scale of a power station."

"The aim of ITER is to demonstrate integrated physics and engineering on the scale of a power station. The design goal is to produce at least 500 MW of fusion power, with an input of approximately 50 MW."

Link to source

 

 


Steve Cowley, TED Talk — July 2009
"More than half the world's population is involved in building this device in southern France. Seven nations are involved in building this. It's going to cost us 10 billion and will produce half a gigawatt of fusion power. But that's not electricity yet."
Link to source

NOTE: The projected 500 MW of thermal power output would be equivalent to 200 MWe at 40% TEC. If converted to electricity, the net result for the reactor would be negative 26 MWe.


Steve Cowley, Engineering and Technology Magazine — June 16, 2014
"The engineering milestone is when the whole plant produces more energy than it consumes. ITER will be the first to do this."
Link to source

NOTE: The projected 500 MW of thermal power output would be equivalent to 200 MWe at 40% TEC. If converted to electricity, the net result of the whole plant would be negative 26 MWe.


Steve Cowley, Oxford Martin School — Oct. 16, 2017
"It makes half a gigawatt of power, thermal power. So if you hooked it up to make electricity it'll make about 200 megawatts of electricity."
Link to source

NOTE: Cowley's statement is only true if you disregard the 300 MWe input power.


Ian Chapman, Engineering and Technology Magazine — Nov. 9, 2016
"ITER is a next-step experimental atomic fusion reactor that will produce an output of power 10 times greater than 'the power required to get the reactor going'. ... “You need to remember that ITER is an experiment. It is effectively a proof of principle designed to show that you can get significant energy yield."
Link to source

NOTE: Chapman's statement is true for readers who understand that a "output of power 10 times" and a "significant energy yield" apply only to the plasma. Otherwise, readers will assume that those claims apply to the overall reactor, which would be a false interpretation.


Ian Chapman, Royal Institution Lecture — March 17, 2016
"In the next step device we'll put in 50 and get out 500. And that's the aim of the machine. It's not going to put electricity onto the grid. It's not designed to do that. It is an experiment, it's a proof of principle. If you can prove the principle, and we get as we predict, we'll get 500 megawatts out."

Link to source

"Ultimately, the aim of this device is that, as I say, we'll produce about 10 times more energy out as we put in. We'll put 50 megawatts in to heat the fuel in the first place. Once the fuel is hot and the fusion is happening, it will produce about 500 megawatts out."
Link to source

"ITER's about 500 megawatts. Now 500 megawatts is not that much, in fact, it's very small in terms of reactors. If you look at a fission reactor or a coal plant, these are usually one or two gigawatts."
Link to source

NOTE: The projected 500 MW of thermal power output if ITER would be equivalent to 200 MWe at 40% TEC. If converted to electricity, the net result for the reactor would be negative 26 MWe. That's very small in terms of real reactors.


Ian Chapman, BBVA OpenMind — March 23, 2017
"Chapman sets some dates and numbers: at the beginning of the 2030s, ITER will produce 500 megawatts, consuming between 50 and 100 [megawatts.]"

Link to source


Ian Chapman, The Sunday Times, Nov. 12, 2017 — (as of Nov. 12, 2017)
"[JET] generates 16 megawatts of electricity, about the same as three or four windmills." [The reporter asked Chapman, "How much electricity do you need to shove into the thing for such a result?"] Chapman replied, "About 25 megawatts."
Link to source

NOTE: JET produced zero Watts of electricity. It didn't produce enough thermal power from fusion to make one Watt of excess electrical power. Scientists needed to shove 700 MW of electricity into the thing to create a fusion plasma that had 16 MW of thermal power.

On Nov. 15, 2017, I sent an e-mail to Chapman and advised him of the inaccuracies. Chapman replied that evening: "Thank you for your e-mail pointing out the inaccuracy relating to JET performance in the Sunday Times article. I have written to the journalist to point this out." Three weeks went by, and there were no corrections.

On Dec. 2, 2017, I sent an e-mail to the U.K. Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the members of the U.K. Parliament Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and informed them of the inaccuracies. The next day, the Sunday Times made a partial correction to the online version of the article, published a printed correction notice, and published a deeply buried online correction notice.


Ian Chapman, The Sunday Times, Nov. 12, 2017 — (as of Dec. 3, 2017)
"[JET] can generate 16 megawatts of fusion power, about the same as three or four windmills." [The reporter asked Chapman, "How much electricity do you need to shove into the thing for such a result?"] Chapman replied, "About 25 megawatts just to heat the fuel."
Link to source

NOTE: The "corrected" article maintained Chapman's false comparison to wind turbines (which produce real net power) to JET (which demonstrated a 684 MW net power loss). It maintained the false appearance that JET generated ANY power. It maintained the false appearance that JET needed only 25 MW to achieve the 16 MW result.


Ian Chapman, Aug. 9, 2019, Press Release — (as of Aug. 9, 2019)
"ITER – due to start up in 2025 – is designed to show that fusion can work on the scale of a powerplant."
Link to source

I wrote to Chapman. He made a correction.


Ian Chapman, Aug. 9, 2019, Press Release — (as of Aug. 14, 2019)
"ITER – due to start up in 2025 – is designed to validate technology for the prototype power stations that are expected to follow it."

NOTE: This is accurate.

 

UNITED KINGDOM ATOMIC ENERGY AUTHORITY (UKAEA)
(Web pages)

CCFE Web Site — June 12, 2018
"[ITER] is expected to prove the feasibility of electricity generation from fusion by releasing some 500 megawatts of fusion power (from a 50 megawatt input) for up to 500 seconds. It will be the first fusion experiment to produce net power – ten times more than the amount required to heat the plasma."
Link to former page


Krivit to Holloway — June 17, 2018
Holloway to Krivit — June 20, 2018


CCFE Web Site — June 20, 2018
"[ITER] is designed to release 500 megawatts of power from fusion reactions during pulses of up to 600 seconds."
Link to former page


Krivit to Holloway — June 22, 2018
Holloway to Krivit — June 25, 2018


CCFE Web Site — June 25, 2018
"[ITER] is designed to produce a plasma that releases 500 megawatts of power from fusion reactions, during pulses of up to 600 seconds."
Link to former page

NOTE: This is accurate for non-experts.


CCFE Web Site — Jan. 1, 2020
"ITER should produce about as much fusion power as the electricity required to run the entire plant."
Link to source

NOTE: This is accurate for non-experts.

CCFE, in this statement, became the second fusion organization to publicly reveal that ITER is equivalent to a net zero power output reactor. They put the page up sometime in 2019.


CCFE Web Site — Jan. 22, 2020
"ITER will aim to produce 500 megawatts of power and confirm the viability of fusion power on a commercial scale."
Link to source

NOTE: The projected 500 MW of thermal power output if ITER would be equivalent to 200 MWe at 40% TEC. If converted to electricity, the net result for the reactor would be negative 26 MWe. This will not confirm the viability of fusion power on a commercial scale.


Krivit to Holloway — Jan. 22, 2020
Holloway to Krivit — Feb. 5, 2020


CCFE Web Site — Feb. 16, 2020
"ITER will aim to produce 500 megawatts of fusion power and will be an important step towards demonstrating the viability of fusion on a commercial scale."

NOTE: This is accurate for non-experts who read it carefully.

 

ITER CONTRACTORS

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries / Fake News Article in Forbes — June 17, 2020
"
ITER’s target is an output of 500 MW from only 50 MW to start and maintain the fusion process. This is about the same amount of energy that a small fission plant produces. Although this represents a 10-fold energy return on investment, ITER will not capture the energy it produces as electricity."

Masahiko Inoue / Mitsubishi Heavy Industries / Fake News Article in Forbes — July 13, 2020
"When it goes online five years from now, ITER will be the first fusion reactor to produce net energy. This means that, unlike previous reactors, the total power it produces will exceed the activation energy needed to start the fusion reaction. It is expected to produce 500 MW – the equivalent of a small fission plant – from only 50 MW input power. This represents a ten-fold energy return on investment, and the point at which the “science fiction” of fusion becomes a reality."

General Atomics

GA AND THE ITER INTERNATIONAL ENERGY PROJECT — as of July 27, 2020
"ITER will be the first fusion device to produce net energy – the point when the total power produced during a fusion plasma pulse surpasses the thermal power injected to heat the plasma."