India Intelligence Report

   India Signs ITER Agreement


India joined 6 other nations to sign the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor (ITER) Agreement contributing 10% of project cost with manufactured equipment to develop a prototype reactor that will make atomic fusion the next major source of energy. Fusion energy does not produce green house gasses, leave radioactive waste materials, nor pollute the environment. The other countries in this venture are the US, EU, Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea.

Department of Atomic Energy Anil Kakodkar said that India is severely energy deficient and even if there is “5000 kilowatts per hour per capital per year, this is nothing compared to the per capital energy consumption of Europe. This very modest target would mean enhancing the electricity consumption in India by a factor of 11 or 12.”

Director of the Institute of Plasma Research Dr. P.K. Kaw will lead the project from the Indian side. India has already developed two experimental reactors called Aditya and SST-1 but feels that the collaboration will help it get to the ultimate point of commercial power generation using fusion energy faster. India was invited to join the other countries by the US through the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

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 also 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.