On February 5 2007 the EU and the Japanese government signed the "Broader Approach" agreement. The cooperation aims to complement the ITER Project and to accelerate the realisation of fusion energy as a clean and sustainable energy source, by carrying out R&D and developing some advanced technologies for a future demonstration fusion power reactor (DEMO). The agreement lasts 10 years and represents some 340 million Euro of European investment.
Together with the European Atomic Energy Community, known by its initials EURATOM, Japan will work on three projects over the next 10 years aiming to develop nuclear power as a clean and sustainable energy source. One project will be developed in Aomori, northern Japan, while the other two will be carried out in Ibaraki, outside of Tokyo.
The first project includes the development of an Engineering Validation and Engineering Design Activities for the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF/EVEDA). The future realisation of fusion energy will require materials which have endurance and show low radioactivity against the exposure to the harsh thermal and irradiation conditions inside a fusion reactor. IFMIF will allow testing and qualification of advanced materials in the same environment conditions as those in a future fusion power reactor. The Engineering Validation and Design Activities aim at producing a detailed, complete and fully integrated engineering design of IFMIF.
The second project aims at building the International Fusion Energy Research Centre (IFERC). IFERC will focus on activities related to DEMO, the fusion device foreseen after ITER, i.e. its design, R&D, computational simulation and ITER remote experimentation towards the realisation of DEMO.
Finally, the third project under the Broader Approach agreement deals with the so called "Satellite Tokamak Programme". The Japanese JT-60 tokamak will be upgraded to an advanced superconducting tokamak JT-60 SA, and be exploited under the framework of this Agreement as a "satellite" facility to ITER. The Satellite Tokamak Programme is expected to develop operating scenarios and address key physics issues for an efficient start up of ITER experimentation and for research towards DEMO.
"Today´s signature of the Broader Approach Agreement marks not only the successful end of our complex negotiations, but also the beginning of an ever-closer cooperation between the fusion communities of Japan and Europe to face the many challenges which we can best overcome when acting together", Hugh Richardson, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Commission to Japan, said. "The three projects that are to be undertaken under the Broader Approach Agreement carry great importance for the early realisation of fusion energy and will complement the global efforts on realising ITER."