In fusion research, the strategy to achieve the long-term goal entails, as its first priority, the construction of ITER, a major experimental facility which will demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power and that is being built in Cadarache. ITER is nowadays the biggest international research project, bringing together 7 parties (EU, Japan, Russia, Peoples Republic of China, India, Republic of Korea and the USA) that represent more than half of the world's population. The next step will be the construction of DEMO, a ‘demonstration’ fusion power station.
This is being accompanied by a dynamic programme of supporting R&D; for ITER and for the developments in fusion materials, technologies and physics required for DEMO. This involves European industry, the Euratom fusion Associations and third countries, in particular parties to the ITER Agreement.
Europe's leading position in fusion energy research is due to the combination of a single and fully integrated European fusion programme of the European Research Area (ERA) type, strong continuous Community support, coordinated by Euratom, and the development of human capital in the fusion Associations. These Associations are centres of excellence in fusion research and have an extensive network of collaborations, largely based on their experimental facilities.
The rapid development of fusion also requires a wide industrial base to ensure a timely deployment of fusion energy. European industry has already contributed substantially to the ITER Engineering Design Activities. During the Euratom FP7 , European industry, including SMEs, will play a central role in the construction of ITER and will position itself to participate fully in the development of fusion power technologies for DEMO
There are serious shortcomings in Europe's energy supply with respect to short, medium, and long-term considerations. In particular, measures are needed to address the issues of security of supply, climate change, and sustainable development, while ensuring that future economic growth is not threatened.
In addition to the efforts which the EU is making in the field of research into renewable energies, fusion has the potential to make a major contribution to the realisation of a sustainable and secure energy supply for the EU a few decades from now after the market penetration of commercial fusion reactors.
The long-term goal of European fusion research, embracing all the fusion activities in the Member States and associated third countries, is the joint creation (in approximately 30 years and subject to technological and scientific progress) of prototype reactors for power stations which meet the requirements for a safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly energy and are economically viable.
- The realisation of ITER
- R&D in preparation of ITER operation
- Technology activities in preparation of DEMO
- R&D activities for the longer term
- Human resources education and training
- Technology transfer processes
For further details in the research activities, please read the annual work programmes in the Library .
Last updated on: 2010-06-08