Nextbigfuture said ITER would cost $45+ billion more and DOE agrees

In 2017, Nextbigfuture said that the ITER tokamak fusion project would cost $45-60 billion more than the claimed $22 billion construction budget and US Department of Energy (DOE) agrees with a far higher cost estimate. On April 11, 2018, Paul Dabbar, DOE undersecretary for science, provided a $65 billion estimate to the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development. The $65 billion covers construction alone and annual operating costs once experimental operations begin in 2025 aren’t included.

The day after Dabbar’s testimony, the European Union Council of Ministers endorsed ITER’s nearly two-year-old baseline estimate, which covers construction from 2007 to full completion in 2035. Including a 10% contingency to account for overruns, ITER’s cost to EU members is €11.7 billion ($14.5 billion). As host, the EU is paying 46% of ITER’s cost, five times the share of each of the other six partners: China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the US.

The budget they talk about is 20 billion euros. This does not include the cost of the donated hardware only the bureaucratic management costs, materials and the costs of assembly. The budget is only to get ITER to 2035.

ITER is really spending about $2 billion per year. Normally when these projects get to the major operational phases the budget goes up. It would be likely that after 2025 the budget will start going up to $3 billion to $4 billion per year. This would mean another $45-60 billion from 2025-2040.

Initial plasma experiments with deuterium are scheduled to begin at ITER in 2025, construction will continue through 2035, the planned date for the first ignition experiments using tritium.

DEMO machines are the follow-ups that will bring fusion energy research to the threshold of a prototype fusion reactor. ITER is only trying to demonstrate the technological and scientific feasibility of fusion energy for 20 minutes of fusion around 2035-2040. DEMO will open the way to its industrial and commercial exploitation, but again will be commercial prototypes.

The European commission removed claims of net power. Steve Krivit showed that it would be 300MW in and 500MW of heat and fusion out. This would be net negative when converted to electricity. They previously did not include all of the power used and over stated the power output.

So multiple pre-prototype projects out to 2060. Say four countries each with their own $100-200 billion project out to 2060.

Then prototypes out to 2070. This is all assuming the technology is working.

Materials under neutron. Fusion is practical, attractive. Power Plant. JT-60SA. ITER. DEMO. Fusion is feasible. JET. Fusion is commercially exploited. Fusion is plausible. WEST. ≈2020. Operation. ≈2025. ≈2050. Fusion facilities around the world.

Is this the best way for tens of thousands of physicists, engineers and following generations to spend their careers?

60 thoughts on “Nextbigfuture said ITER would cost $45+ billion more and DOE agrees”

  1. Simply put, this is taking too long. With the increasing rate of technological change mankind is generating real commercial fusion energy should be practical by 2030.

    Reply
  2. Simply put this is taking too long. With the increasing rate of technological change mankind is generating real commercial fusion energy should be practical by 2030.

    Reply
  3. Simply put, this is taking too long. With the increasing rate of technological change mankind is generating real commercial fusion energy should be practical by 2030.

    Reply
  4. Simply put this is taking too long. With the increasing rate of technological change mankind is generating real commercial fusion energy should be practical by 2030.

    Reply
  5. ITER is an obsolete design. MITs ARC/SPARC proposals (using YBCO and stronger magnetic fields) look much cheaper to investigate & operate.

    Reply
  6. ITER is an obsolete design. MITs ARC/SPARC proposals (using YBCO and stronger magnetic fields) look much cheaper to investigate & operate.

    Reply
  7. $45bn is fine, it should be more. This is, at $2bn/year, 0.002% of world GDP. Yaaay for enthusiasm. Personally I think China will outspend the rest of the world at some point in the next decade or two, get it done quicker. This is the final energy source that current science offers. It’s gotta be done.

    Reply
  8. $45bn is fine it should be more. This is at $2bn/year 0.002{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of world GDP. Yaaay for enthusiasm. Personally I think China will outspend the rest of the world at some point in the next decade or two get it done quicker. This is the final energy source that current science offers. It’s gotta be done.

    Reply
  9. LOL Paul, go back and read your comment because you totally contradict yourself. You state that only private corporations will be able to make fusion a reality but your examples are the Manhattan project and the Apollo project, both giant government projects. No private corporation is going to invest 100 billion dollars into a project like this. You can’t use smartphones as an example, there was very little development cost as all the technology already existed. This is why government must lead on these types of projects.

    Reply
  10. LOL Paul go back and read your comment because you totally contradict yourself. You state that only private corporations will be able to make fusion a reality but your examples are the Manhattan project and the Apollo project both giant government projects. No private corporation is going to invest 100 billion dollars into a project like this. You can’t use smartphones as an example there was very little development cost as all the technology already existed. This is why government must lead on these types of projects.

    Reply
  11. $45bn is fine, it should be more. This is, at $2bn/year, 0.002% of world GDP. Yaaay for enthusiasm. Personally I think China will outspend the rest of the world at some point in the next decade or two, get it done quicker.

    This is the final energy source that current science offers. It’s gotta be done.

    Reply
  12. LOL Paul, go back and read your comment because you totally contradict yourself. You state that only private corporations will be able to make fusion a reality but your examples are the Manhattan project and the Apollo project, both giant government projects. No private corporation is going to invest 100 billion dollars into a project like this. You can’t use smartphones as an example, there was very little development cost as all the technology already existed. This is why government must lead on these types of projects.

    Reply
  13. At least the technology used in the SLS has already been demonstrated to work. No one really knows if ITER will work the way they want it to….

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  14. At least the technology used in the SLS has already been demonstrated to work. No one really knows if ITER will work the way they want it to….

    Reply
  15. You’d probably call me a whiney Malthusian, but I love fission and hate solar power satellites. Well, I would do, if I thought they’d ever be built, since the light pollution from them would make starry skies just a memory. ( Note – whinny = a noise horses make ; whiney = adjective applied to one’s political opponents )

    Reply
  16. You’d probably call me a whiney Malthusian but I love fission and hate solar power satellites. Well I would do if I thought they’d ever be built since the light pollution from them would make starry skies just a memory. ( Note – whinny = a noise horses make ; whiney = adjective applied to one’s political opponents )

    Reply
  17. What would they do with this, if before 2035, a nano approach was found?” Same thing they did with the extensive and expensive system of canals that were built in the 18th and early 19th century, once railways were developed. The trading empires built on the overland silk road, once cheaper and faster oceanic routes were found. The world wide whaling industry once cheap mineral oil took the market. The worlds mechanical calculator and sliderule industry, once electronic calculators came out. The companies and individuals involved lost their fortunes and the rest of the world moved on.

    Reply
  18. What would they do with this if before 2035″ a nano approach was found?””Same thing they did with the extensive and expensive system of canals that were built in the 18th and early 19th century”” once railways were developed.The trading empires built on the overland silk road once cheaper and faster oceanic routes were found.The world wide whaling industry once cheap mineral oil took the market.The worlds mechanical calculator and sliderule industry”” once electronic calculators came out.The companies and individuals involved lost their fortunes and the rest of the world moved on.”””

    Reply
  19. You’d probably call me a whiney Malthusian, but I love fission and hate solar power satellites. Well, I would do, if I thought they’d ever be built, since the light pollution from them would make starry skies just a memory. ( Note – whinny = a noise horses make ; whiney = adjective applied to one’s political opponents )

    Reply
  20. Iter project is a way how to delay nuclear fusion, since too many people loose their source of income with working fusion reactors. First nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945, man landed on moon in 1969 and we cant do commercial fusion in 2018? Dont want to is more like it. Bureocratic, slow, old designs, snail like. Private corporations get things done and researchers have to earn their salary and produce results. Give money to private corporations with strict conditions and they will get things done. Corporations and competitive environment made modern optimized smarphones,… not some slow bureucratic project, which would take forever so and we would still be using IBM Simon in 2018, with respect to IBM Simon.

    Reply
  21. Iter project is a way how to delay nuclear fusion since too many people loose their source of income with working fusion reactors. First nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945 man landed on moon in 1969 and we cant do commercial fusion in 2018? Dont want to is more like it.Bureocratic slow old designs snail like.Private corporations get things done and researchers have to earn their salary and produce results.Give money to private corporations with strict conditions and they will get things done. Corporations and competitive environment made modern optimized smarphones… not some slow bureucratic project which would take forever so and we would still be using IBM Simon in 2018 with respect to IBM Simon.

    Reply
  22. This whole thing reminds me of California’s High Speed Train To Nowhere The Voters Approved Costing Nowhere Near What The Voters Where Told.

    Reply
  23. This whole thing reminds me of California’s High Speed Train To Nowhere The Voters Approved Costing Nowhere Near What The Voters Where Told.

    Reply
  24. The budget they talk about is 20 billion euros. This does not include the cost of the hardware only the bureaucratic management costs and the costs of assembly.” Every time I attack ITER for the Big Science Fraud that it is, I get told, “Yeah…but ITER is doing science anyway!” No. This €20 billion is not going to science. Not one euro of it is. It’s all fûc%ing pork.

    Reply
  25. The budget they talk about is 20 billion euros. This does not include the cost of the hardware only the bureaucratic management costs and the costs of assembly.””Every time I attack ITER for the Big Science Fraud that it is”” I get told”” “”””Yeah…but ITER is doing science anyway!””””No. This €20 billion is not going to science. Not one euro of it is.It’s all fûc{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}ing pork.”””””””

    Reply
  26. if it works $45 billion will be cheap for the power of the gods. The GDP of the world is about $90 trillion. $45 billion is 1/1000 of this. $45 billion is what the automobile industry will spend over the same period of time to get another 5% efficiency in mpg or another 10 hp for the same displacement. $1T is what the F-35 will cost. Most of the jets will be retired and replaced in the next 40 yrs.

    Reply
  27. if it works $45 billion will be cheap for the power of the gods. The GDP of the world is about $90 trillion. $45 billion is 1/1000 of this. $45 billion is what the automobile industry will spend over the same period of time to get another 5{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} efficiency in mpg or another 10 hp for the same displacement. $1T is what the F-35 will cost. Most of the jets will be retired and replaced in the next 40 yrs.

    Reply
  28. Its an unfair comparison. EVERY single form of power generation is cheaper than ITER. You could pick a Gen IV fission reactor design and make the first 8 of them to eliminate FOAK costs. And produce cheaper electricity.

    Reply
  29. Its an unfair comparison. EVERY single form of power generation is cheaper than ITER.You could pick a Gen IV fission reactor design and make the first 8 of them to eliminate FOAK costs.And produce cheaper electricity.

    Reply
  30. You could probably fund the development of all the six types of Gen 4 reactors for 45 billion. Even if 5 out of 6 fail to work, you’d still come out ahead of ITER.

    Reply
  31. You could probably fund the development of all the six types of Gen 4 reactors for 45 billion. Even if 5 out of 6 fail to work you’d still come out ahead of ITER.

    Reply
  32. “What would they do with this, if before 2035, a nano approach was found?”
    Same thing they did with the extensive and expensive system of canals that were built in the 18th and early 19th century, once railways were developed.
    The trading empires built on the overland silk road, once cheaper and faster oceanic routes were found.
    The world wide whaling industry once cheap mineral oil took the market.
    The worlds mechanical calculator and sliderule industry, once electronic calculators came out.
    The companies and individuals involved lost their fortunes and the rest of the world moved on.

    Reply
  33. It will end up being cheaper, faster and easier to sell politically, to start building the technology and infrastructure required for solar power satellites, and grow them to provide a majority of our power, than building a fusion reactor here on Earth. Because as soon as fusion proves viable some time in the unforeseeable future, the whinny crowd of malthusians will start hating it just as much as fission.

    Reply
  34. It will end up being cheaper faster and easier to sell politically to start building the technology and infrastructure required for solar power satellites and grow them to provide a majority of our power than building a fusion reactor here on Earth.Because as soon as fusion proves viable some time in the unforeseeable future the whinny crowd of malthusians will start hating it just as much as fission.

    Reply
  35. I know a NukeE from San Onofre who bounced around from startup to startup since it’s closurd and is now collecting a paycheck from ITER. I imagine it’s a jobs program with 150 people working on the compromises and the physics and 5000 people, like this individual I mention, who doesn’t even know about concrete let alone high power electronics.

    Reply
  36. I know a NukeE from San Onofre who bounced around from startup to startup since it’s closurd and is now collecting a paycheck from ITER. I imagine it’s a jobs program with 150 people working on the compromises and the physics and 5000 people like this individual I mention who doesn’t even know about concrete let alone high power electronics.

    Reply
  37. Iter project is a way how to delay nuclear fusion, since too many people loose their source of income with working fusion reactors. First nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945, man landed on moon in 1969 and we cant do commercial fusion in 2018? Dont want to is more like it.
    Bureocratic, slow, old designs, snail like.
    Private corporations get things done and researchers have to earn their salary and produce results.

    Give money to private corporations with strict conditions and they will get things done. Corporations and competitive environment made modern optimized smarphones,… not some slow bureucratic project, which would take forever so and we would still be using IBM Simon in 2018, with respect to IBM Simon.

    Reply
  38. “The budget they talk about is 20 billion euros. This does not include the cost of the hardware only the bureaucratic management costs and the costs of assembly.”

    Every time I attack ITER for the Big Science Fraud that it is, I get told, “Yeah…but ITER is doing science anyway!”

    No. This €20 billion is not going to science. Not one euro of it is.

    It’s all fûc%ing pork.

    Reply
  39. if it works $45 billion will be cheap for the power of the gods. The GDP of the world is about $90 trillion. $45 billion is 1/1000 of this. $45 billion is what the automobile industry will spend over the same period of time to get another 5% efficiency in mpg or another 10 hp for the same displacement. $1T is what the F-35 will cost. Most of the jets will be retired and replaced in the next 40 yrs.

    Reply
  40. Its an unfair comparison. EVERY single form of power generation is cheaper than ITER.

    You could pick a Gen IV fission reactor design and make the first 8 of them to eliminate FOAK costs.

    And produce cheaper electricity.

    Reply
  41. You could probably fund the development of all the six types of Gen 4 reactors for 45 billion. Even if 5 out of 6 fail to work, you’d still come out ahead of ITER.

    Reply
  42. It will end up being cheaper, faster and easier to sell politically, to start building the technology and infrastructure required for solar power satellites, and grow them to provide a majority of our power, than building a fusion reactor here on Earth.

    Because as soon as fusion proves viable some time in the unforeseeable future, the whinny crowd of malthusians will start hating it just as much as fission.

    Reply
  43. I know a NukeE from San Onofre who bounced around from startup to startup since it’s closurd and is now collecting a paycheck from ITER. I imagine it’s a jobs program with 150 people working on the compromises and the physics and 5000 people, like this individual I mention, who doesn’t even know about concrete let alone high power electronics.

    Reply

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