Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme

EAEC-FWP-EAEC 1C

Successor programme

FP6-EURATOM - FP6-EURATOM-FUSION - FP6-EURATOM-NUCTECH - FP6-EURATOM-RADPROT - FP6-EURATOM-NUWASTE - FP6-EURATOM-NUCHORIZ
To support research related to controlled thermonuclear fusion and energy systems related to nuclear fission.

Abstract

As under the Fourth Framework Programme, a separate legislative Decision is required to cover research and training activities in the nuclear sector to be implemented under the Euratom treaty.

For the period 1998-2002, the Euratom Framework Programme focuses on research and training activities covering controlled thermonuclear fusion and energy systems relating to nuclear fission.

The Euratom Framework Programme comprises both thematic and horizontal aspects, as well as activities to be implemented by the Joint Research Centre (JRC). As with the proposal for the 5th EC Framework Programme, the thematic aspects consist of three components:

- A key action;
- Activities for the research and development of generic technologies;
- Activities in support of research infrastructures.

A single "key action" focusing on controlled thermonuclear fusion has been proposed. This will supplement the key action "Advanced energy systems and services", which has been proposed under the thematic programme on "Competitive and sustainable growth" in the 5th EC Framework Programme.

Continuing research conducted under previous framework programmes, the long-term objective of the key action, embracing all the research activities undertaken in the Member States and Switzerland aimed at harnessing fusion, is the joint creation of prototype reactors for power stations to meet the needs of society: operational safety, environmental compatibility, economic viability.

The proposed strategy to achieve this long-term objective includes the development of an experimental reactor (The Next Step) and then of a demonstration reactor (DEMO). Progress to date suggests the construction of the Next Step during the next decade is both technically feasible and strategically necessary. This should preferably take place within the framework of the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) international cooperation project, involving the Member states and Switzerland alongside Japan, Russia and the USA.

The "Subdivisions" section of this record contains further details on the activities to be implemented under the specific programme.

The horizontal aspects are the same as those set out in the proposed 5th EC Framework programme, namely:

- Confirming the international role of Community research;
- Innovation and participation of SMEs;
- Improving human potential.

Complete information on the preparation of the 5th Framework Programme is available on the CORDIS WWW-based "Fifth Framework Focus" service at the following location:

http://www.cordis.lu/fifth/home.html

Subdivision

(a) Key actions
One key action - Controlled thermonuclear fusion:

The long-term objective, embracing all the research activities undertaken in the Member States and Switzerland aimed at harnessing fusion, is the joint creation of prototype reactors for power stations to meet the needs of society: operational safety, environmental compatibility, economic viability.

The proposed strategy to achieve this long-term objective includes the development of an experimental reactor (The Next Step) and then of a demonstration reactor (DEMO).

During the period from 1998 to 2002, implementation of the strategy will entail:

- The fusion physics and technology activities needed for the associations and European industry to develop the capacity to construct the Next Step and prepare to operate it; the European Union will continue to participate in the detailed design activities for the ITER with a view to its possible construction;

- Activities in the field of physics to improve the basic concepts of fusion devices; technological activities for the longer term which are essential to make progress with harnessing fusion.

Activities will also embrace the completion of the full-scale operation of the Joint European Torus (JET), the main instrument from which data can be extrapolated for the experimental reactor.

The key action also encompasses:

- Fresh assessments of safety and environmental aspects;
- Further studies on the socio-economic aspects;
- Coordination, in the context of a keep-in-touch activity, of the Member States' civil research activities on inertial confinement;
- Dissemination of results and the diffusion of information to the public.

(b) Activities for the research and development of generic technologies

Work will focus on the following priority research:

- Operational safety of existing facilities, including issues relating to the extension of the lifespan of reactors, the technological aspects of severe accidents, and strategies and methods for the management of accident and post-accident situations;

- Security and safety of the fuel cycle; a joint, scientifically-founded approach to the management, disposal and minimisation of radioactive waste;

- Radiation protection, with the emphasis on understanding and awareness of the hazards related to ionising radiation, more especially the effects of low-dose radiation, the management of nuclear emergencies and the restoration of contaminated environments;

- Studies on new nuclear facilities, advanced and more efficient fuels, future systems and concepts to increase the safety of the complete nuclear cycle and the competitiveness of industry, in particular in relation to outside markets; these studies will cover safety analysis, impact on man and the environment, and the most promising approaches from a technological and economic viewpoint in a sustainable development perspective;

- Development of technologies and methods for nuclear materials safeguards to meet the new challenges: changes in the fuel cycle, the sharp rise in the stock of fissile materials due to nuclear disarmament, the extra obligations arising out of new international agreements, the illicit traffic in fissile materials;

- Encouragement of cooperation with the Central and East European countries and the countries of the former Soviet Union: development of specific "international cooperation" research activities which will help improve the safety of nuclear reactors, waste management in these countries, radiation protection, and the control of fissile materials; development of coordination and international cooperation activities carried out under the Framework Programme. It will be possible to mobilize Community financing to facilitate such participation in accordance with rules to be adopted in the Decision on the specific programme.

(c) Support for research infrastructures This aims at optimum utilization at Community level of nuclear energy research test facilities, in particular those which are important as regards the safety and competitiveness of this form of energy.

Implementation

The Commission proposes that the 5th Euratom Framework Programme of research and training activities be implemented by a single specific programme covering nuclear energy under the "promoting competitive and sustainable growth" theme. This will be established by a legislative Decision after the European Parliament and Council have formally adopted the 5th Euratom Framework Programme Decision. Two further legislative Decisions will be required to cover JRC activities and the rules of participation respectively.

Separate Decisions are foreseen for the EC RTD Framework Programme.

Community support is provided for both "indirect actions" in the area of RTD and demonstration and direct research activities, known as "direct actions".

The "indirect actions" comprise of five categories:

- Shared-cost actions (finance, in principle, for up to 50% of the eligible costs for research projects, up to 35% of eligible costs for demonstration projects, and support for access to research infrastructures);
- Training fellowships (funding of up to 100% of the eligible costs and a contribution to the eligible costs of the host institution in an EU Member State);
- Support for networks (funding of up to 100% of the additional eligible costs of coordinating and implementing the network);
- Concerted measures (funding of up to 100% of the additional eligible costs associated with coordinating national RTD projects already in receipt of funding);
- Accompanying measures (up to 100% of the eligible costs for measures contributing towards the implementation of specific programmes or the preparation of future activities).

"Direct actions", which comprise institutional research and scientific and technological support activities, will be implemented by the Joint Research Centre (JRC). Community funding will normally be 100% of the costs of the direct action.

A proposal for the financial resources to be allocated to the programme is scheduled to be made in July 1997.
Record Number: 628 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05