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Iter governing body warns of new technical challenges

“Extensive repairs” needed for nuclear fusion project’s first-of-a-kind components

The governing body of the nuclear fusion research project Iter has raised concerns about new technical challenges facing the construction of its demonstration facility in France.

The international project—supported by China, the EU, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US—has in the past been beset by spiralling delays and cost increases.

In a press release published on 17 November, Iter said its governing council of member state representatives had recently discussed progress on construction, such as the creation and delivery of first-of-a-kind components.

The council “noted the need to address a number of concerns” related to those components, Iter said, adding that results from an analysis of “key components” suggested the need for “extensive repairs”.

According to Iter, the council urged the project’s recently appointed director general, Pietro Barabaschi, “to assess the impacts of these setbacks and commence the necessary repair work as soon as possible”.

Iter said that, during the meeting, its council urged the project leaders and domestic agencies to “work together to ensure an appropriate project-wide quality culture to prevent any recurrence of such issues”.

The Council reportedly accepted a recommendation from Barabaschi to establish an updated project baseline after assessing and developing a corrective plan.

Barabaschi was appointed in September following the death of former director general Bernard Bigot.