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Monday December 11th, 2017 12:19PM

Nuclear fusion project hails halfway construction milestone

By The Associated Press
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BERLIN (AP) — A vast international experiment designed to demonstrate that nuclear fusion can be a viable source of clean and cheap energy is halfway toward completion.

The organization behind the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor announced the milestone Wednesday and confirmed it's aiming to conduct a first test run in 2025.

Construction in southern France has been dogged by delays and a quadrupling of costs to 20 billion euros ($23.7 billion). Critics say money could be better spent on other research; advocates counter the cost is modest compared with annually subsidies for renewable energy.

ITER chief Bernard Bigot is visiting Washington on Wednesday to secure support from the United States, which like China, South Korea, Japan, Russia and India contributes 9 percent of the budget.

The European Union pays 45 percent of costs.

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