India Intelligence Report

India Joins Thermonuclear Organization


Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Direct Anil Kakodkar will be signing in India as the 7th participant in the global Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor (ITER) project to contribute USD 565 million worth of indigenous material or 10% of ITER needs. The global effort’s ambitious aim is to make atomic fusion the next major source of energy. 

Invited by the US to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, India has deputed Institute of Plasma Research (IPR) P.K. Kaw to lead a group of core scientists to determine technical and financial terms with ITER. IPR has successfully developed two small fusion reactors Aditya and SST-1 both of which are about 7 times smaller than the reactor proposed by ITER in terms of size and complexity. 

India has initially planned to develop its own ITER-scale reactor by 2035-40 but believes that ITER participation will cut down that time by at least 20 years since learning time to pick up 90% of the technology will be shared. Kaw said that India will not make monetary contributions but will supply crucial components like cryostat, steel shield inside the reactor vessel, ion-cyclotron heating system, a diagnostic neutral beam, and cooling water and cryo-distribution system.


The ITER project will be located at Cadarache in France and the other six members of the consortium are European Union, United States, Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea. India had earlier participated in the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) large hadron collider project with indigenously designed and developed equipment. That contribution earned it observer status in CERN.

As the world rapidly depletes fossil fuels, there is increased search for alternate fuels that are also environmentally friendly. The US & Russia are in a race to build permanent industrial-grade stations on the moon to trap and transport rare isotope Helium-3 for use in thermonuclear reactors by 2020

Kakodkar believes that “a hundred years from now, fusion may become the best source of energy.”