At its meeting in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance in France on June 15-16 Council of the ITER Organisation approved the Resource-Loaded Integrated Schedule of the ITER Project which sets December 2025 as the date for the first plasma of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor under construction at Cadarache in France. Previously the date was set at 2020. The Council concluded that this schedule "is challenging but technically achievable". This now has to be approved by the Members, including approval from the budgetary authorities of some countries.
Thousands of engineers and scientists have contributed to the design of ITER since the idea for an international joint experiment in fusion was first launched in 1985. The ITER members include China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the USA. Europe is responsible for the largest portion of construction costs (45.6%); the remainder is shared equally by the other members (9.1% each). The members deliver very little monetary contribution to the project: instead, nine-tenths of contributions will be delivered to the ITER Organization in the form of completed components, systems or buildings.
A decision on additional oversight was also made during the Council meeting, specifically, to verify aspects critical for successful implementation of the project. The ITER Council has charged the ITER Organization to work "to extend the updated Resource-Loaded Integrated Schedule through Deuterium-Tritium Operation, with sufficient detail to enable the Council to adopt an updated project baseline at its next meeting in November".