India’s involvement in ITER reflects capabilities for advanced design and manufacturing: PM Modi
A special message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi was delivered by India’s envoy to France, Jawed Ashraf, during the virtual ceremony at ITER headquarters that marked the start of the assembly.
As scientists started assembling the world’s largest fusion device at ITER in southern France on Tuesday, India said the project demonstrated the country’s capabilities for design and manufacturing at the most advanced levels.
A special message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi was delivered by India’s envoy to France, Jawed Ashraf, during the virtual ceremony at ITER headquarters that marked the start of the assembly. French President Emmanuel Macron and leaders from China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the US and Europe joined the event.
“India is proud to be part of a global enterprise that is at the frontier of science and engineering,” Modi’s message said.
“Indian scientists have made valuable contributions to the development and fabrication of the cryostat, the cooling system, the cryo-distribution system and several kilometres of cryo-lines. They remain involved in many other aspects of the project,” it added.
India’s scientists also demonstrated the country’s “capabilities for design and manufacture at the most advanced levels”, the message said. “Equally, our institutions, scientists and engineers have benefited enormously from collaborating with their peers from around the world,” it added.
The ITER machine, the world’s biggest science project, is being assembled to replicate the Sun’s fusion power. The assembly began after components arrived from around the world, reflecting the willingness of 35 partner countries to work together in the fight against climate change.
Fusion provides clean and reliable energy without carbon emissions. It involves minute amounts of fuel found in seawater and lithium. A pineapple-sized amount of fuel is the equivalent of 10,000 tons of coal. The cost of a fusion plant is expected to be on the lines of the cost of a nuclear fission plant, but without problems associated with nuclear waste.
Modi’s message described the beginning of ITER assembly activities as an “important milestone in the progress of project”. Scientists and engineers around the world developed a range of components that represent design, innovation and engineering of great complexity and precision, while adhering to schedules and timelines despite restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the message said.
The prime minister wished the project, which reflects international collaboration at an unprecedented level, all success on behalf of 1.3 billion Indians.
The country is represented in the international project by ITER-India, which is under the Institute for Plasma Research and governed by an empowered board chaired by the secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). India became the seventh full partner of ITER in December 2005.
ITER-India designed and built the country’s contributions to ITER, including the cryostat, a massive vacuum containment vessel that is the single largest component of the ITER machine.
According to the organisation’s website, the ITER machine will be the first fusion device to produce net energy and maintain fusion for long periods of time. It will also be the first fusion device to test integrated technologies, materials and physics regimes needed for the commercial production of fusion-based electricity.