Tony Donné, EUROfusion Programme Manger

Tony Donné, EUROfusion Programme Manager

When I started as Programme Manager in mid-2014, I thought that the first two years would be particularly challenging since EUROfusion was a completely new organisation and many things needed to be set up from scratch. Since then, I have learned that every year of EUROfusion has its own special challenges.

Looking back on 2016, we can be satisfied with what has been achieved. The midterm review panel and the management assessment have confirmed that EUROfusion is fit for purpose. I am pleased that our stakeholders recognise the efforts that EUROfusion has made in its first two years.
During the recent IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in Japan, EUROfusion presented itself very well. I was informed, by various sources, that people had noted the large number of presentations and posters we were producing. We have shown to the world that Europe has a coherent fusion programme that we can be proud of.

Wendelstein 7-X is a new superstar amongst EUROfusion’s devices. After successfully switching on the stellarator back in December 2015, the machine realised its first hydrogen plasma discharge last February, causing huge media interest worldwide. When I recently presented an overview of the EUROfusion programme during a lecture in Japan, the audience was very positive especially with regard to the fact that we have successfully integrated the tokamak and the stellarator lines of research into a single programme. Also, the horizontal programming across the various tokamaks is something that other countries envy Europe for.

JET’s latest campaign has been the most fruitful in years. The recent results are significant for ITER’s success. Hence, it is also very important for the world’s biggest upcoming tokamak that the predecessor JET will operate the deuterium-tritium campaign which is scheduled for 2019 – 2020. Therefore, we must keep a close eye on the developments in Great Britain after this year’s Brexit referendum. The short-term future of EUROfusion’s flagship facility is secure until 2018. Having invested many years, both in terms of resources as well as in energy, we do need to make sure that everything possible is done to continue the JET programme and prevent this flagship research from being affected by the British decision to leave the Union. It is our desire to keep collaborating strongly with our British partner, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).

2017 will be a special and challenging year yet again. But EUROfusion will no doubt receive strong support from its new Ukrainian Research Unit which joins us on January 1st. We will also be plugging in two new machines: WEST, the tungsten tokamak from the French Research Unit CEA has been almost completely refurbished and the only spherical tokamak in the European fusion programme, MAST-Upgrade at CCFE, will also join our quest for fusion energy.

All those efforts and successes would not have been possible without the dedicated staff of EUROfusion and its Beneficiaries. I dearly appreciate everyone who has contributed to EUROfusion in 2016 and I hope to continue with our good work in the coming year.
Signature transparant Tony Donne
Tony Donné,
EUROfusion Programme Manager