On 24th of March 2004 a symposium on fusion energy was organised by the Association EURATOM-Risø. The programme contained four 45 minute talks and finally a debate on fusion energy among the audience and speakers. The audience of approximately 65 persons came from industry, the ministries, newspapers, universities, the general public, and from Risø.

The Symposium was organised by Association EURATOM-Risø National Laboratory, Denmark


Information on the general activities of the Danish association can be found on the webpage


The first speaker was Prof. H. Bruhns from the European Commission presenting “What is fusion and why do we develop it?“. In his talk Prof. Bruhns emphasised the strength of the European Fusion programme distributed in the national Associations and integrated in the EURATOM framework: this strength is shown in the scientific exploitation of JET and in the ITER design work.

The second talk “JET, Europe’s world leading fusion experiment“ was given by the EFDA Associate Leader for the Joint European Torus, Dr. J. Pamela. He described the development of the JET experiments, and the importance of the JET contributions to ITER, both as an operator training site and a test facility for plasma scenarios. Answering one question Dr. Pamela stated that discontinuing the JET experiment could easily increase the cost of the ITER experiment and decrease the efficiency of its exploitation.

The third talk by Dr. M. Chatelier vice director of Association EURATOM-CEA, Cadarache, France, “ITER, an essential step towards fusion energy”, described the ITER project. It was emphasised that ITER is not a reactor, but an experiment for demonstrating all technologies essential to a fusion reactor in an integrated system. In particular three technologies will be tested: superconducting magnets at high field (13 T) and high current (80 kA), remote handling in a hostile environment, and plasma facing components and breeding blankets under a high heat flux (up to 15 MW/m2) and neutron wall load (≥ 0.5 MW/m2). Dr. Chatelier also recalled that ignition is not needed for ITER success, and is not even desirable for a reactor, where the alpha heating fraction will be 90-95 %.

The last talk “The fast track to fusion power” by Dr. G. Janeschitz, head of the Association EURATOM-FZK, Research Centre Karlsruhe in Germany, was a comprehensive look at which technologies are needed in order to construct a fusion power plant. According to the fast track, the two steps DEMO and PROTO reactors (respectively, an experiment showing that a full working fusion power plant can be built, and a prototype for commercial reactors) can be combined, and in this way the development time can be shortened by at least 10 years, providing commercial fusion energy by 2040. This will, however, require technological developments performed in parallel to ITER construction and operation, with some essential components such as: IFMIF (materials testing facility), a DEMO design team which guides the fusion technology R&D in a similar way as the ITER EDA team has done, a fully validated virtual tokamak (computer code) developed for ITER and validated with ITER experimental results, an accompanying programme to ITER based on the existing tokamaks including JET (until 2010 or 2012) and a new superconducting satellite tokamak in the JET class (e.g. JT60-SC or a new EU machine depending on the location of ITER), as well as an extended performance state of ITER (from 2025 onwards) with a full tritium breeding blanket and high availability to perform component tests for DEMO.

Following the inspiring talks the four speakers lined up for a panel debate with the audience. Several issues were discussed: Other means of confinement, the fast track to fusion and the perspectives for structural and first wall materials research where the ongoing developments and the planning for validation of materials were clarified. The discussion also addressed the level of uncertainty of reaching the goal of a fusion power plant. The opinion on the last subject was that based on the remarkable progress achieved over the past decades there is a very good chance of reaching the goal: today the physics is in hand to build ITER which willgenerate 500 MW of fusion power and all technologies have been identified which are needed for the power plant and for most of them already prototype or model solutions do exist.

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