Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:


Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Computer-Aided Design | A new platform with Australia

    In September 2016, the signature of a Cooperation Agreement between the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the ITER Organization [...]

    Read more

  • Ten years later | A prodigious adventure

    ITER began its existence as an aspiration in the early 1980s, as actors in the fusion community called for the joint machine that would demonstrate the feasibil [...]

    Read more

  • Image of the week | An impromptu visit

    Afteraddressing the UN Climate Change Conference on 15 November, French President Emmanuel Macron toured thecolourful COP23 exhibition zone. It was towards the [...]

    Read more

  • Cryoplant | How to install a compressor

    In order to properly install a helium compressor skid on its concrete pad, you need to start with a large push broom to sweep away the dust that inevitably accu [...]

    Read more

  • Magnetic system | Nine rings to fight the force

    Work on the pre-compression ringsof the ITER magnet system progresses in Europe, where work on a full-scale prototype is underway. These technically challenging [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived articles

Fusion electricity production in practical terms

Sabina Griffith

The new EUROfusion consortium will have a project-oriented approach, supporting roadmap missions, research in basic plasma processes and the preparation of the new ITER generation of scientists. Francesco Romanelli (photo: EFDA) (Click to view larger version...)
The new EUROfusion consortium will have a project-oriented approach, supporting roadmap missions, research in basic plasma processes and the preparation of the new ITER generation of scientists. Francesco Romanelli (photo: EFDA)
In a few weeks, on 31 December 2013, the European Fusion Development Agreement known as EFDA will come to an end. It will be reborn as a consortium called EUROfusion. ITER Newsline talked to EFDA/JET leader Francesco Romanelli about the reasons for the reorganization and the implications for the European fusion landscape.

Can you share with us the reasons for the reorganization of the fusion landscape in Europe?

The main reason for this step is to adapt to the challenges of the ITER era. The transition is somewhat similar to what happened within the EURATOM program in the early 1970s when it was discovered that the T3 Tokamak in Russia was producing a temperature of 1keV — a major breakthrough at that time. The decision taken then by the fusion community, the European Commission and the heads of the laboratories was to streamline the European fusion program along the tokamak line and to go for a large common facility in Europe.

That was the time when the design of the JET facility was kicked off. We are now in a somewhat similar phase. We need to cope with the fact that, ten years from now, ITER will be in operation and we will then have to proceed rapidly on the preparation of a demonstration fusion power plant.
 
It sounds like the new consortium is more focused on delivering electricity?

We are still in the research phase, but yes, we need to prepare ourselves—with a sufficient sense of urgency—for the production of electricity from fusion. This is why we are implementing our program through a project-oriented approach along the recommendations and the priorities set up in the new European fusion roadmap.

The roadmap was developed by EFDA following the recommendations of a panel set up by the Director General of the European Directorate-General for Research and chaired by Albrecht Wagner. The Panel examined the strategic orientation of fusion research including the role of JET in support of ITER. Its main recommendation is to substantially restructure the European fusion program in order to cope with the challenges coming up with the start of ITER.

So what does that mean precisely? What will change?
 
What will change is that there will no longer be baseline support for the labs. We are setting up the program around a number of work packages that involve either the exploitation of major devices in a campaign-oriented approach—as we did and as we will continue to do with JET—or specific projects that reflect the roadmap mission.

I expect that this system will give to all the present EFDA members the possibility of participating to the activities of the system taking advantage of each laboratory's expertise. In addition to this, the consortium is going to support activities on what we call "enabling research" in order to support the basic understanding of the plasma processes. We are also willing to invest a substantial amount of resources on preparing the new ITER generation of scientists on the undergraduate, PhD and postdoctoral level.

We are now finalizing all open issues with the goal of implementing the roadmap on 1 January 2014. So, to summarize, we are about to put fusion electricity production into very practical terms.


return to the latest published articles