Posted on: 1st October 2014
On 9 October 2014 the European Commission invites the fusion community into the heart of the European Quarter, the Solvay Library, to officially launch the European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy, EUROfusion for short. The new consortium agreement will substitute the fourteen year-old European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA), as well as 29 bilateral Association agreements between the Commission and research institutions in 27 countries.
The formation of EUROfusion marks a big step forward for Europe’s quest to develop fusion power as a climate-friendly energy source that will contribute to meet a growing global energy demand. The EUROfusion Consortium enables Europe’s national laboratories to pool their resources even more efficiently – a measure which became necessary to meet the challenge of increasingly complex and large-scale projects such as ITER and DEMO.
The preparation for such a joint fusion programme started in 2012. All EU research laboratories jointly drafted a detailed goal-oriented programme to realise fusion energy by 2050. This programme, known as the ‘Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Electricity’ outlines the most efficient path to fusion power. By the end of that year it was endorsed by all parties.
The roadmap has two main aims: Preparing for ITER experiments in order to ensure that Europe makes best possible use of ITER and to develop concepts for a fusion power demonstration plant DEMO. The necessary research towards reaching these aims is carried out by universities and research centres within the current European Framework Programme Horizon 2020. More than before does the programme involve industries in the process of designing components and finding technical solutions.
Through EUROfusion, the European fusion research programme will have direct access to various European experiments that are relevant to fulfil roadmap missions. The world’s largest magnetic fusion experiment, the Joint European Torus (JET) in Culham, UK, will continue to be exploited by EUROfusion until 2018. JET, often nicknamed “Little ITER”, has already been paving the way for ITER and continues to align its scientific programme to ITER needs.
The Solvay library is the ideal venue for the launch of EUROfusion: inaugurated in 1902 its architecture accommodated new ways of academic teaching. The new architecture of EUROfusion strengthens Europe’s leading position in fusion research by integrating a strong central programming.