Tony DonnéThe first year of EUROfusion is behind us. It is a great achievement that the Grant Agreement and the Consortium Agreement are finally signed and that the EUROfusion consortium is now in full swing. Many people – in the European Commission, in the Research Units and in the Programme Management Unit – have been working very hard to get EUROfusion put in place. Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in setting up the new organisation. EUROfusion brought with it considerable changes for its members, the European fusion laboratories. Instead of conducting their research in a rather independent way, they are now subject to a more central guidance based on set priorities. It will take time for all Research Units to find their place within EUROfusion and to optimise their contributions by making best use of their competences. The Programme Management Unit will fully support that process.

EUROfusion marks the beginning of a new era

European fusion research is now more efficient. The European Fusion Roadmap, developed under EUROfusion’s predecessor EFDA, sets the priorities for our research. It is the central guideline used by Europe to fund research projects. Within the new framework, Europe’s fusion community also employs its infrastructure more efficiently. While the Joint European Torus or JET remains the most important fusion device for Europe’s fusion researchers, EUROfusion also has direct access to various national experiments. The medium-sized tokamaks, ASDEX Upgrade, TCV and MAST are part of the EUROfusion tokamak programme. New is that the priorities for all tokamak research – experimental as well as theoretical and modelling – are set in Europe-wide discussions based on the programme headlines defined in the roadmap. Then the best experiment to execute the specific research elements is chosen. A coherent set of devices is available for research in the exhaust physics and plasma facing component fields. This set includes tokamak platforms like WEST, but also various linear devices and electron beam facilities.

2015 brings exciting opportunities

After a successful start with ASDEX Upgrade, EUROfusion will phase the second medium-sized tokamak, TCV, into its programme. At JET, 2015 and early 2016 will be filled with experiments supporting preparation for the deuterium-tritium campaign planned for 2017. The European fusion community is looking forward to the start of operation of Wendelstein 7-X, the world’s most advanced stellarator. Based on the results achieved in the fields of exhaust physics and plasma facing components, an assessment needs to be carried out close to the end of 2015 to judge whether there is sufficient support for the construction of a Divertor Test Tokamak, a device to test novel exhaust concepts for application in the DEMO reactor.
The Power Plant Physics and Technology section of EUROfusion have started the conceptual design of DEMO. New is that a system engineering approach will be followed and that industry participants will be involved right from the start. One important activity planned for 2015 will be the definition of the high-level requirements for DEMO, which will be carried out in close discussion with various stakeholders like utilities, networks, and industries.

I wish you all a very good, successful, healthy and exciting 2015.