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Korea, China, Japan Cooperate for the Success of ITER Project (August 2)

5th Korea-China-Japan ITER project implementation committee held

The Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) announced the hosting of “the 5th Korea-China-Japan ITER project implementation committee” from 2 to 3 of August, for two days, in Japan, to discuss technology exchanges related to carrying out International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project and agendas for ITER management.

7 countries including Korea along with the U.S., Russia, EU, Japan, China and India have been constructing ITER in France from 2007, as to demonstrate the possibility of mass producing energy, made possible by “nuclear fusion*.”

ITER has been a fusion science and technology research facility from 1950s. When each ITER Member manufactures allocated components in their own country, they are assembled and installed in France and the construction of experimental reactor is scheduled to be completed by 2025.

* nuclear fusion generates (solar) energy by converging light materials like hydrogen, which is different from nuclear power generation (nuclear fission)

Korea, Japan, China have hosted “Korea-China-Japan ITER project implementation committee” every year from 2014, in order to increase influence in carrying out ITER project and maximize effects of participation.

In the project implementation committee, the current status of how each country manufactures components, issues, solutions and cooperative ways at the highest decision making body which is ITER Council are discussed.

“The 5th Korea-China-Japan ITER project implementation committee” is held in Ibaraki, Japan and about 50 experts participate.

In particular, in the committee meeting, cooperation agendas regarding analysis device and power switch that the three countries manufacture jointly are discussed. Also, technical issues are discussed mostly, including agendas on large stainless steel structure manufacturing technologies, such as vacuum vessel, superconducting magnet structure, thermal shield, along with sharing of how ITER test blanket modules are manufactured, which are used to test tritium proliferation.

In addition, in the ITER Council to be held in the future, agendas such as ways for Korea, China and Japan to gain influence and impact Brexit has on ITER project will be discussed. Also, the current status on management of ITER construction (schedule, plasma shape and human resource management etc.) will be shared by each country.

Nuclear fusion has almost infinite fuel and it is safe energy source creating large amounts of energy, having no risk of power plant explosion, even at times of disasters. Nuclear fusion is considered as the dream energy of the future that can respond to increasing demand for energy and address climate change issues due to greenhouse gases.

Korea has participated in joint project of ITER development from 2003 and experts including ITER Technology Officer (Dr. Kyoung-soo Lee) are playing central roles. From 2016 to 2017, Korea led the ITER project to a great extent, with Emeritus Professor Goongwon Nam of POSTECH taking the post of ITER Council Chair. Up until now, around 110 domestic companies took part in the project and significant economic achievements have been created such as signing contracts with overseas countries in relation to construction of experimental reactors, which amounts to 571.1bn won in total.

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