Under construction in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, south France, the ITER site has been receiving big first-of-a-kind components - in many cases weighing several hundred tons each and more than 15 meters long - produced by ITER consortium members in recent months.
The experimental plant's goal is to demonstrate that fusion power can be generated sustainably, and safely, on a commercial scale.
ITER confirmed that when assembly is completed in December 2025, it will launch first plasma, which should prove the reactor concept works.More news: James Murdoch resigns from News Corp, citing "disagreements" over editorial content
"If fusion power becomes universal in complement to renewable energies, the use of electricity could be expanded greatly, to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, buildings and industry", an optimistic Bigot said.
Reputed as an "Artificial Sun", the ITER program is one of the largest and most important global scientific research project in the world. Fusion has neither physical possibility of a run-away accident with meltdown nor long-term legacy of waste disposal.
"Today we celebrate more than just a technical milestone", said European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson in her video speech to representatives from all of the ITER members attending the celebration ceremony either in-person at the ITER site or virtually via livestream.
Furthermore, the fuel for fusion is found in seawater and lithium, abundant enough to supply humanity for millions of years.
ITER, the world's largest experimental fusion facility, is meant to produce about 500 megawatts of thermal power, equivalent to some 200 megawatts of electric energy if operated continuously, enough to supply some 200,000 homes.More news: Salvini to face new trial over migrant ship blockade
Some 2,300 people are at work on-site to put the massive machine together.
"Constructing the machine piece by piece will be like assembling a three-dimensional puzzle on an intricate timeline", he said in a statement on Tuesday. This involves systems engineering, project management, machine assembly logistics, and risk management.
The project aims to build the world's largest tokamak or a magnetic fusion reactor for large-scale and carbon-free source of energy.
Despite slight delays due to the coronavirus lockdown, ITER was still on track to start up in full power mode in 2035, an ITER spokeswoman said. Each reactor can power two million homes each at an operational cost similar to those of conventional nuclear machines.
Such "artificial suns", however, are criticised by environmentalists as a cripplingly expensive scientific mirage.More news: Naya Rivera's final TV appearance to be on Netflix's Sugar Rush
The project's estimated cost just for the European Union was about 20 billion euros ($23.5 billion), Bigot told reporters.