1985 – The former Soviet Union made a proposal for joint construction of the TOKAMAK facility of next generation on the basis of experience of the four world leading CTF programs. The United States arranged consultations with Japan and European Community to work out the proposal of how to implement this kind of activity.
1988 – Four Members of the ITER project started the phase for conceptual design (CD) in April 1988. It was successfully completed in December 1990. This work justified the general program and technical solutions for the facility of next generation and started orientation of thermonuclear programs of the Members towards the common goal.
1992 – In July 1992 four Parties started the current phase of the ITER Project – engineering design (ED). Canada and Kazakhstan joined the project in association with Euroatom and Russian Federation, respectively. Initially the ED phase was planned for the period of six years. The Members agreed that within this period they would jointly (and with equal contribution) prepare the detailed, complete, and totally integrated technical design of ITER, as well as all of the technical data, necessary for making follow-up decisions related to construction of ITER.
Six-year long cooperation ended with development of the first comprehensive detailed design of thermonuclear reactor on the basis of verified physical data and examined technologies. The Project meets the requirements of the overall ITER program, technical objectives and approaches approved by the ITER Members at the beginning of the detailed design phase.
1998 – At that time the Members were not able to start the construction due to financial reasons. Different ITER options were reviewed. These options allowed reducing the cost due to changing the ITER technical objectives, and potential decreasing of technical requirements, while the overall program task remained the same. The objective was to reduce the cost by approximately 50% of the cost of the previous design. To do the work the ED phase was extended to July of 2001 (although the US made a decision to leave the Project at the end of fiscal year 1999). The effort was concentrated on key issues related to the revised technical objectives. It was decided to use the generated database and to fix the balance between the operating characteristics and cost reduction.
2000 – At the end of 1999 the facility major characteristics (with the new name of ITER-FEAT) were presented in the specialized Outline Design Report and disseminated between the Members for review. In 2000 the design was updated in order to have the final ITER project report in July 2001. The detailed design of the ITER reactor was completed in 2001.
2005 – The place for construction of the facility was finally selected June 28, 2005. This is close to the site of Cadarache Atomic Center, South of France. Preparation for construction of ITER started in the selected site.
2007 – The Agreement on founding the ITER Organization officially entered into force October 24. It was signed by representatives of the European Atomic Energy Community, Governments of India, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, USA, and Japan.