Although ITER is actively supported by the international scientific community, the project is quite often criticized (as you may have read on the internet and in the media). Most of these criticisms focus on the budget (exploding, as they say) and the delays (recurring). ITER would be too big, too complex—in short, a financial black hole! In this chapter we will see that some critics expound more subtle and more relevant arguments. Some nuclear opponents and some scientists belong to this category. Such arguments are of course invaluable to those who oppose ITER but do not have the same scientific background. There are also (as you will see) a number of opponents who do not have a direct link to ITER either professionally or personally. Nevertheless, they like to express publicly their disagreement with the ITER program. This category includes Green activists, trade unionists, and more generally people opposing more general developments such as nuclear energy, globalization, and the market economy. More recently a new kind of opposition to ITER has surfaced. It mainly involves trade union activists and anticapitalistic groups who are very active on social media and in public debates. We will carefully analyze the arguments put forward by some Nobel laureates and other famous scientists who have strongly criticized the scope of the project and have questioned its funding, real utility, and future impact. Needless to say, these arguments usually trigger a lot of interest and comments in both the scientific and political spheres. The Frenchman Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, a winner of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1991, unambiguously criticized the ITER program. His arguments related mainly to the budget and waste management. Georges Charpak, another Nobel laureate, also criticized ITER as is clear from the title of an article of his published in 2010: “Nuclear: Let’s stop ITER, the useless and overpriced reactor.” Recently a few scientists and journalists criticized the project on the basis of the alleged performance of ITER, which they say has been largely overestimated.
KeywordsITER Opponents Scientists Ecologists Cost
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