At its 27th meeting, held in Cascais, Portugal, on 4 April 2005, the EFDA Steering Committee approved the launch of 3 projects for upgrading JET, as part of a proposed “JET programme in support of ITER”. This programme had received a very positive support from the EFDA Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) on 14 December 2004. The 3 projects are the “ITER-like wall”, the “Neutral Beam Enhancement” and the “High frequency Pellet injector”. The engineering design has started and the first call for tenders are being prepared. In addition, proposals for diagnostics and plasma control are in preparation and will be presented at STAC in June.

The operation of JET beyond 2006, as part of the ITER Accompanying Programme, remains subject to the approval of an appropriate funding for the next Framework Programme (FP7). Commission’s proposals for FP7 published on 6 April contain promising news in this respect, including a substantial increase of the fusion funding under EURATOM. Dr Pablo Fernandez Ruiz, Director in charge of energy research in the Commission, commented that “the proposed budget for fusion, if adopted by the Council, would enable realising ITER and permit at the same time a vigorous Accompanying Programme.”

The implementation of the “ITER-like” wall and “Neutral Beam Enhancement” is foreseen to be conducted during a shutdown in 2008 for exploitation in 2009 and 2010.