Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Successor programme

To study fusion, with particular reference to the behaviour of an ionized plasma under the action of electromagnetic forces and to the thermodynamics of extremely high temperatures.


The 1957 Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) stipulates that the task of the Community shall be to contribute to the raising of the standard of living in the Member States and to the development of relations with other countries by creating the conditions necessary for the speedy establishment and growth of nuclear industries. The Treaty further stipulates that, in order to perform its task, the Community shall be responsible for promoting and facilitating nuclear research in the Member States and for complementing such research by carrying out Community research and training programmes. These shall be determined by the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission, and shall be drawn up for a period of not more than five years within the fields listed in Annex I to the Treaty.

Annex I lists the following fields of research:
- Raw materials;
- Physics applied to nuclear energy;
- Physical chemistry of reactors;
- Processing of radioactive material;
- Applications of radioisotopes;
- Study of the harmful effects of radiation on living organisms;
- Equipment;
- Economic aspects of energy production.

One of the specific areas of research listed under the heading "Physics applied to nuclear energy" is the "study of fusion, with particular reference to the behaviour of an ionized plasma under the action of electromagnetic forces and to the thermodynamics of extremely high temperatures".


- Fusion research carried out by the Joint Nuclear Research Centre;
- Fusion research complementary to that of the Joint Nuclear Research Centre, carried out under contract outside the Centre.


The 1957 Euratom Treaty provided for the setting up by the Commission, after consulting the Scientific and Technical Committee, of a Joint Nuclear Research Centre to ensure that the Community research and training programmes and other tasks assigned to the Centre are carried out. It authorized the Commission to entrust, by contract, the carrying out of certain parts of the programmes to Member States, persons or undertakings, or to third countries, international organizations or nationals of third countries.

For the purpose of coordinating and complementing research undertaken in Member States, the Treaty authorizes the Commission to call upon Member States, persons or undertakings to communicate to it their programmes, following which it may deliver a reasoned opinion on these programmes with a view to discouraging unnecessary duplication and to directing research towards sectors which are insufficiently explored. To encourage the carrying out of research programmes communicated to it, the Commission may provide financial assistance within the framework of research contracts, supply source materials or special fissile materials which it has available (free of charge or against payment), and place installations, equipment or expert assistance at the disposal of Member States, persons or undertakings (free of charge or against payment). It may also bring together representatives of public and private research centres as well as any experts engaged in research in the same or related fields for mutual consultation and exchanges of information.

Annex V to the Treaty outlines the first five-year research and training programme, which included research on fusion to be carried out both by the Joint Nuclear Research Centre and by outside contractors. The total budget for the five-year period was set at 215 million units of account (u.a.). Out of this amount, 66 million u.a. were allocated to the Centre for the installation and operation of laboratories, equipment and infrastructures, including 3.5 million u.a. for the installation of a special nuclear fusion laboratory. Additional amounts were allocated for documentation, information and training (8 million u.a.), for reactor prototypes (60 million u.a.) and for a high-flux reactor (34.4 million u.a.). The remaining 46.6 million u.a. were set aside for complementary work carried out under contract, including 7.5 million u.a. for nuclear fusion. In all, about 13 million u.a. were spent on fusion research over the five-year period.

The Treaty requires that the Commission submit annual reports to the Council on the implementation of the research and training programmes and that it keep the Economic and Social Committee informed of their broad outlines. Concerning the dissemination of information over which the Community has power of disposal, the Commission may grant licences and sub-licences on terms to be agreed with the licensees.


Nuclear Fusion
Record Number: 104 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05