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The US is taking a hard look at its involvement in ITER

robert_steinhaus - February 11, 2014

At the inception of the international ITER fusion reactor project, ITER was expected to cost €5 billion (US$6.8 billion). ITER has suffered delays, several costly redesigns, and project setbacks and currently has no official price tag.

The US at project inception pledged to pay 9.1% of the total project cost, and this was originally thought to be about US$610 million dollars.

Recently, Congress and the Obama Administration requested that DOE’s Office of Science’s office of project assessment (OPA) prepare an updated estimate for the US portion of ITER’s cost, using conservative assumptions based on performance to date and reasonable projections for the future. OPA’s estimate was recently announced by DOE. In a statement, Edmund Synakowski, DOE’s associate director of science for fusion energy sciences, said of OPA’s recent updated estimate -

“The new cost estimate, which is a range from $4.0 to $6.5 billion, is a reflection of the historical cost growth of the project and the high level of risk and uncertainty associated with this highly complicated international undertaking.”

If you project out OPA’s estimate for the 9.1% pledge the US has made to the ITER project, the US pledge to ITER is now expected to be between US$4 billion and US$6.5 billion; according to OPA, the total ITER project cost to the international consortium is now expected to range from US$44 billion to US$75 billion.