9 Sep (NucNet): Fusion energy has the potential to become a virtually inexhaustible, safe and environmentally friendly energy source, capable of meeting global energy requirements, International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiyo Amano said during a visit to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) construction site in southern France.
Mr Amano welcomed the progress being made at the site where scientists are building a device to prove the feasibility of nuclear fusion as a large-scale energy source.
Since the late 1980s, the IAEA has provided a forum for collaboration among countries interested in demonstrating the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy.
In 2007, this led to the establishment of the Iter International Fusion Energy Organisation. The IAEA director-general is the depositary for the Iter agreement, under which scientists are building the Iter experimental reactor at the Cadarache nuclear site in Saint Paul-les-Durance.
Mr Amano also visited the site of the Jules Horowitz Reactor, a material test reactor being built at Cadarache by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.
The reactor is the first one designated under the International Centre based on Research Reactors (ICERR). ICERR is a scheme the IAEA launched in 2014 to help scientists from around the world gain access to research reactor facilities and foster cooperation in nuclear research and development.
The IAEA also said yesterday it will host its 26th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in Kyoto, Japan, in October. The aim of the conference is to foster the exchange of results and innovative concepts in nuclear fusion research.