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Research and training programme (Euratom) in the field of controlled thermonuclear fusion, 1988-1992

Part of the Community's Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (1987- 1991) under sub-activity 5.2: "Controlled thermonuclear fusion", this fifth programme in the field forms part of a long-term cooperation project embracing all activities undertaken in the Member States in the field of controlled magnetic thermonuclear fusion.

Beginning with the first programme in this field (1976-1980), the Council adopted the principle of the "sliding" programme whereby a new five-year programme is adopted every three years. Thus the first two years of the new programme coincide with the last two years of the previous programme. Authorized appropriations not used in a programme are carried over into the next.
To establish the physical and technological basis for the detailed design of the Next European Torus (NET) through full exploitation of the Joint European Torus (JET) and other Tokamaks, to investigate alternative confinement systems, such as reversed field pinches and stellarators, and to determine whether nuclear fusion can supply competitively priced energy.
Two subdivisions:

- Fusion General Programme:
Covering the whole field of controlled thermonuclear fusion, including environmental impact, safety and economic viability, this focuses on the magnetic confinement of plasma and fusion technology as well as the Next European Torus (NET);

- Joint European Torus (JET):
This involves the operation and full exploitation of a Tokamak-type torus (a hollow ring-shaped vessel) in which gaseous fuels (deuterium and tritium) are heated to temperatures of over 100 million degrees Celsius so as to produce abundant fusion reactions.
The Fusion General Programme is implemented by the Commission, which is assisted by the Consultative Committee of the Fusion Programme (CCFP). The latter is, in turn, assisted by two sub-committees: the Programme Committee (PC) for physics questions, and the Fusion Technology Steering Committee (FTSC) for NET and technology.

Responsibility for the JET Joint Undertaking is vested in the JET Council (assisted by the JET Executive Committee and the JET Scientific Council) and in the Director of the JET Project. A multilateral agreement on NET has been concluded.

The programme is implemented by means of contracts of association between Euratom and national organizations and through the JET Joint Undertaking. Staff mobility between the various European fusion laboratories of the Member States and the fully associated third states (Sweden and Switzerland) is ensured through mobility contracts. European industry is contributing to the programme mostly through the supply of components and equipment. However, it is also beginning to become more involved through long-term development contracts.

In the course of the third year of the programme, the Commission will evaluate it in the light of its objectives. Following this evaluation, the Commission will submit to the Council a revision proposal for a new five-year programme beginning on 1 January 1991.