EUROfusion-F4E Collaboration Inked

Fusion for Energy (F4E)  in collaboration with EUROfusion, drafted an MoU with EUROfusion for the implementation of the reorganization of the Test Blanket Module and Breeding Blanket programme. This MoU was signed on the 02 September 2019. EUROfusion Programme Manager Tony Donné gave his thoughts on the collaboration and why it is important for the European fusion community going forward.

What is the significance of the MoU between EUROfusion and F4E?

EUROfusion and F4E are largely complementary entities. Roughly, you could say that F4E is the European organisation that is responsible for the procurement and assembly of large-scale fusion projects as ITER, JT-60SA and IFMIF/DONES, whereas EUROfusion if the organisation coordinating R&D in nuclear fusion in Europe. There are several topics in which F4E and EUROfusion have a common interest and in which it makes sense to work together to make use of synergies. The MoU is the basic framework between the two organisations under which the specific agreements on certain topics will find a place.

In what ways are EUROfusion and F4E already collaborating?

  • EUROfusion and F4E are already collaborating for a long time in projects related to the Broader Approach agreement with Japan. Whereas F4E has been heavily involved in the procurement and assembly of the satellite tokamak facility, EUROfusion has concentrated on the JT-60SA Research Plan, in preparation of the exploitation phase. From 2020 onwards a joint European team will be stationed in Naka to work on the commissioning of JT-60SA and on the first exploitation. Together, the two organisations are now working on a number of small enhancement projects (cryopump, pellet injector, diagnostics) that should be installed before the second operational period of JT-60SA.
  • IFMIF/EVEDA in Rokkashu has been manufactures and assembled by a joint team of F4E and QST in Japan. Now the device has come in the commissioning phase, EUROfusion has seconded scientific and engineering staff to Rokkashu to help with the commissioning and scientific explanation. In parallel, EUROfusion is responsible for the engineering design of IFMIF/DONES; the neutron source that is hopefully going to be built near Granada in Spain by F4E and CIEMAT in collaboration with other organisations.
  • In 2017 the ITER Test Blanket Module (TBM) programme coordinated by F4E and the DEMO Breeding Blanket programme coordinated by EUROfusion have been aligned and a choice have been for Europe to concentrate on two Test Blanket Modules for ITER; Water-Cooled Lithium-Lead and Helium-Cooled Pebble Bed. Both organisations are now working closer together and EUROfusion has seconded a number of experts from the Beneficiaries to the F4E TBM team in Cadarache.

What are some of the challenges faced in regard to the two bodies working together?

Both organisations have a different governance and also different strengths. The challenges boil down to finding the optimum way to work together. F4E has much more experience, and has much better tools to work, with industry, while EUROfusion is better geared up to working with the European fusion institutes. In making joint work plans for the different topics, it is important to take these specific strengths into account such that proper synergies are reached.

How would you define EUROfusion’s future role in realising fusion projects?

EUROfusion is a research organisation. Our role is not so much realising new and big projects, but to indicate the need for these projects and to do the necessary research and underlying design. To aid this process we have drafted the European Fusion Roadmap. The main line described in the roadmap leads us via the present devices via ITER to DEMO. Additionally we describe the need for a dedicated neutron source: IFMIF/DONES and a stellarator facility: W7-X as a long-term fall-back solution. As EUROfusion we are exploiting present devices, we are preparing for the exploitation of ITER and we are doing the engineering designs of DEMO and IFMIF/DONES. Once ITER is completed by F4E and the other domestic agencies, EUROfusion will take a role in the exploitation of ITER. Around this time F4E is expected to take over the detailed engineering design of DEMO.