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ITER fusion facility reaches the halfway point

ITER wide-angle view
A super-wide-angle view shows the fusion reactor under construction in France. (ITER Photo)

The world’s biggest and most expensive nuclear fusion research project, known as ITER, says it’s halfway done with the construction effort leading to the startup of its seven-story-high reactor in 2025.

ITER’s ambition to demonstrate a sustained fusion reaction that produces a net gain in energy is matched by the estimated cost, which exceeds $20 billion.

The 35-nation consortium began construction a decade ago, under an unusual arrangement that calls for the various countries to contribute components for the reactor taking shape at Cadarache in southern France. The United States is responsible for 9 percent of the total cost.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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