The Physics and Politics of ITER:
The Path to Fusion Energy?
Dept. of Physics and GI
University of Alaska Fairbanks
In 1985-86 an international experiment meant to lead to a demonstration of the viability of fusion as an energy source was proposed. ITER was the name given to this international collaborative project being undertaken jointly by the world's leading fusion energy programs. The 4 participants (Europe, Japan, the Soviet Union [now Russia], and the United States of America) went through a long planning and design process that was to end in 1998. For cost reasons, this was extended to 2001, however in the interim, the US backed out of the collaboration. Last week the Secretary of Energy announced that the US was rejoining the ITER collaboration as a full participant. This talk will sketch out the politics of ITER and fusion energy as well as both physics behind ITER and the projects physics goals.