In October, the EFDA Steering Committee confirmed Francesco Romanelli as EFDA Leader until the end of 2013. He looks back at a year full of challenges and yet important milestones reached.

Dear reader

picture of Francesco Romanelli

the year 2011 has seen a number of important achievements in the EFDA programme. The JET Enhancement Programme 2 shutdown and restart were successfully completed. Now the exploitation of the ITER-Like-Wall has begun. The Power Plant Physics and Technology (PPP&T) Department was set up and the most urgent activities were launched. A new, more goal oriented way of implementation of the coordinated activities in the ITER Physics Department is being put in place. I would like to take this occasion to thank all those who have devoted their effort to the success of these activities.

At the end of 2010 an Independent Panel was set up by the European Commission to assess the potential JET contributions to ITER and the Strategic Orientation of the Fusion Programme. The Panel recognises JET as vital for the success of ITER and strongly recommends the full exploitation of the ITER-Like-Wall and its operation with tritium. The perspective of extended collaborations with the other international partners, recommended by the Panel, will be an important point in agenda for 2012.

The PPP&T Department was set up in record time and it starts to implement the 2012 Work Programme. The goal is to define the R&D priorities for the next European research framework programme, Horizon 2020, by the end of 2013. The response of the EFDA Associates has been enthusiastic and I hope that the new Implementing Agreement will start soon. The Independent Panel review has made a number of recommendations in this area, some of which are already built in the medium term plan of EFDA.

The ITER Physics area is in a period of substantial renewal. A review of the Integrated Tokamak Modelling activities under EFDA recommended to further strengthen it by including more physics development work and model validation on experimental devices, building on the ITM Task Force experience. The 2012/13 activities in the various topical areas will be implemented through specific projects that have been defined through the collective effort of the Topical Group Chairs and Task Force Leaders.

In its review of the strategic orientation of the fusion programme the Independent Panel expressed its strong support to the development of fusion as an energy source. It also recommended a profound restructuring of the fusion related work in Europe to ensure the success of ITER and progress towards the goal of electricity production in the 2050 time frame.

I believe that the organisation of the fusion programme in Horizon 2020 should ensure a long term perspective of activities, adequate resources on the programmatic priorities with light implementation procedures and the preservation of the identity of each Associate around its points of excellence.

EFDA has already started to move in this direction. With the support of the Associates we should use the period 2012/13 as an opportunity to make the necessary adaptations to the challenges of the ITER era while preserving those aspects that ensured the strength of the programme.

I take this opportunity to give you my best wishes of a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.




Francesco Romanelli