Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Framework programme


Previous programme


Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 526 million

Official Journal Reference

L 375 of 1991-12-31

Legislative Reference

91/678/Euratom of 1991-12-19
To provide the scientific and technological base, establish the environmental and safety criteria, and prepare industry for the construction of a Next Step device.


Part of the third Framework programme for Community activities in the field of research and technological development (1990 to 1994) under subactivity II.5.: "Energy", this eleventh Community Fusion programme embraces all activities undertaken in the Member States (plus Sweden and Switzerland) in the field of controlled thermonuclear fusion by means of magnetic confinement. Its long- term objective is the joint creation of safe, environmentally sound prototype reactors. A step by step strategy towards the prototype commercial reactor is envisaged, including, after JET (Joint European Torus), an experimental reactor (Next Step) and a demonstration reactor (DEMO).

The major physics goal of the Next Step will be the achievement of self-sustained thermonuclear burn of a deuterium-tritium plasma and its control during long pulse operation. The Next Step should demonstrate the safe operation of a device that integrates important technologies of a fusion reactor, and should test components and subsystems essential for a fusion reactor. It should provide the basic data for the engineering of a demonstration reactor capable of producing significant amounts of electricity while taking due account of environmental constraints.

A large proportion of the 1990-1994 fusion activities will be in support of the Next Step. The Conceptual Design Activities have been successfully completed in the European framework, NET (Next European Torus), and also in the quadripartite (EC, Japan, USA, USSR) framework of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). The Engineering Design Activities (EDA) will begin as soon as the ITER EDA Agreement is signed. Construction of the Next Step may be proposed during the period of the fourth Community Framework programme. Where appropriate, JET equipment and expertise will be used to perform specific developments in support of the Next Step.

The Community has concluded Cooperation Agreements in the field of controlled thermonuclear fusion and plasma physics with Sweden and Switzerland. It has entered into an Agreement of Participation in ITER Conceptual Design Activities, together with Japan, the USA and the Soviet Union, and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Canada on the involvement of Canada in the European contribution to these activities. The Council, in its Decision of 6 April 1992, approved the conclusion of a six-year Agreement of cooperation in the ITER EDA, together with Japan, the USA and the Russian Federation. Commission Decision 92/439/Euratom of 22 April 1992 empowers the President of the Commission to designate the person authorized to sign the Agreement and its protocol, the texts of which are appended to the Decision (Official Journal No L 244 of 26.8.1992).


Four areas:

- Next-Step design:
The quadripartite approach of ITER is preferred, but the fall- back capability of NET will be preserved; Next-Step related physics R&D actions will be undertaken on JET and on the specialized devices; actions in fusion technology specific to the Next Step device (superconducting magnets, plasma-facing components, operational and environmental safety, fuel cycle, remote-handling maintenance, decommissioning) will also be undertaken;

- Longer-term technical developments:
Work on such issues as the development of low activation materials relevant to a reactor, the development of reactor blanket modules, and a reference design for an electricity-producing fusion reactor;

- JET:
Completion of the full exploitation of JET in its phases of deuterium plasmas by establishing reliable methods of plasma purity control under conditions relevant for the Next- Step tokamak; preparation for the final phase of JET with deuterium-tritium plasmas (planned for 1995- 1996), including a rigorous scientific, technical and safety assessment;

- Support programme:
. Scientific support to the Next Step and to JET (studies on confinement, magneto-hydrodynamic stability, plasma-wall interaction, fuelling and exhaust, heating and current drive, plasma diagnostic methods, plasma modelling); exploration of concept improvements on existing specialized tokamaks;
. Studies on alternative lines in toroidal magnetic confinement (operation of RFX, EXTRAP-T2, Wendelstein VII-AS, TJ-II in construction);
. Other approaches to controlled fusion (monitoring of current work going on elsewhere and continuation of the present keep-in-touch activity with inertial confinement fusion).


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by the Consultative Committee for the Fusion Programme (CCFP). The CCFP is assisted by two subcommittees: the Programme Committee (PC) for physics questions, and the Fusion Technology Steering Committee (FTSC) for NET and technology.

The programme comprises research and technological development (RTD) projects, the JET (Joint European Torus) Joint Undertaking, accompanying measures and concerted actions.

Implementation of the Joint European Torus (JET) project is entrusted to the JET Joint Undertaking, initially established for a period of twelve years from 1 June 1978 by Council Decision 78/471/Euratom (Official Journal No L 151 of 7.6.1978) and subsequently extended to 31 December 1992 and 31 December 1996 by Council Decision 88/447/Euratom (Official Journal No L 222 of 12.8.1988) and Council Decision 91/677/Euratom (Official Journal No L 375 of 31.12.1991) respectively. Responsibility for the 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.

Projects must be the subject of shared-cost RTD contracts in the framework of:
- Contracts of Association with Member States, organizations in the Member States, Sweden and Switzerland;
- The JET Joint Undertaking;
- The NET (Next European Torus) Agreement (to be extended and/or modified in view of the possible Euratom participation in ITER);
- The Long-Term Development Agreement (to be established);
- Other contracts of limited duration.

Community financial participation in the running expenditure of the Associations will normally be at an annual uniform rate of approximately 25%. After consulting the CCFP, the Commission may finance the capital cost of specifically defined projects at an annual uniform rate of approximately 45% and certain tasks which can be exclusively carried out by industry at a rate of up to 100%. Universities and other research centres participating in shared-cost projects outside the framework of the Contracts of Association have the option of receiving, for each project, either the uniform rates of funding on the total expenditure or twice the uniform rates of funding on the additional marginal costs.

Shared-cost projects must, as a general rule, be carried out by participants established in the Community, Sweden and Switzerland and should, where possible, provide for participation by at least two mutually independent partners established in different Member States of the Community and/or Sweden and Switzerland.

Projects shall be selected on the basis of the ordinary procedures defined in the Contracts of Association, the JET Statutes, the NET Agreement, the Long-Term Development Agreement, and any Community-wide agreements that may be concluded following the advice of the CCFP. For projects that are awarded priority status by the CCFP, all Associations shall have the right to take part in the experiments carried out on the equipment thus constructed.

The accompanying measures consist of:
- The organization of seminars, workshops and scientific conferences;
- Internal coordination through the creation of integrating groups;
- Advanced technology training programmes, with emphasis being placed on multidisciplinarity;
- Promotion of the exploitation of results;
- Independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the operation of the projects and the programme.

Concerted actions consist of action by the Community to coordinate the individual research activities carried out in the Member States. These actions benefit from funding of up to 100% of coordinating expenditure.

The Community funds estimated as necessary for the execution of the programme amount to ECU 526 million. An amount equivalent to 1% of the budget is earmarked as the contribution from the programme to the centralized scheme for the dissemination and exploitation of results. An additional amount of ECU 42 million is allocated to the Joint Research Centre (JRC) for research in the field of controlled thermonuclear fusion.

The Commission is authorized to negotiate international agreements with third countries members of COST, in particular member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and central and eastern European countries, for the purpose of associating them with the whole programme or with a part of it.

During the second year of implementation the Commission shall review the programme and transmit a report on the results of the review to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee. At the end of the programme an evaluation of the results achieved shall be conducted by a group of independent experts and transmitted to these same bodies, together with any comments by the Commission.


Nuclear Fusion
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