Towards a modern European Fusion Research Programme

Focusing on ITER and on longer-term development of fusion technology for a future demonstration reactor DEMO, the European fusion programme has to take on increasingly complex and large-scale projects. This requires an even more effective pooling of national research efforts.

The Fusion Roadmap

To meet this challenge, Europe’s Fusion Research Units analysed their programmes and identified the most efficient path to realise fusion electricity. The result was published in 2013 as the roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy. The Roadmap outlines how to supply fusion electricity to the grid by 2050 and breaks this quest down into eight missions. For each mission, it reviews the current status of research, identifies open issues, proposes a research and/or engineering programme and estimates the required resources. The Roadmap covers three periods: The 8th European Research Framework Programme, Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), the years 2021-2030 and the time between 2031 and 2050.

ITER is the key facility of the roadmap as it is expected to achieve most of the important milestones on the path to fusion power. Thus, the vast majority of resources proposed for Horizon 2020 are dedicated to ITER and to accompanying experiments. The second period is focussed on maximising ITER exploitation and on preparing the construction of a demonstration power plant DEMO, which will for the first time supply fusion electricity to the grid. Building and operating DEMO is the subject of the last Roadmap phase.

From EFDA to EUROfusion

To implement the Roadmap, the European community is currently setting up the EUROfusion consortium. EUROfusion will succeed EFDA as the umbrella organisation of European fusion research and its members will be all European fusion laboratories associated to EFDA. The EUROfusion consortium will implement joint programming co-funded within the framework programme through EURATOM, where the participation of the Consortium Members in the Work Packages is outlined in the Consortium Work Plan 2014-2018.