Barry J. Green, DG Research, EC

From 1 January 2007, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia will become new members of the EURATOM fusion programme, raising the total number of European fusion Associations up to 27.

In July 2006, the CCE-FU recommended that the Commission pursue negotiations with the appropriate partners in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia, with a view to placing Contracts of Association with them. The new Associations are the Institute of Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) or INRNE in Sofi a, Bulgaria, the Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI) in Kaunas, Lithuania, and the Comenius University (CU) in Bratislava, Slovakia. The Contracts will come into effect on 1 January 2007. Then, as soon as the trans-national research units in Cyprus, Estonia and Malta are integrated in the existing Associations with the Hellenic Republic, TEKES and ENEA respectively, all the 27 member states of the EU and Switzerland will be formally involved in the EURATOM fusion programme. Although these three new Associations do not yet formally exist, “kickoff” meetings were held in November.


November 10 in Bulgaria is a date that is of great signifi cance for Bulgaria because 17 years ago (1989) this was the day that democracy replaced the previous totalitarian system. On the same date in 2006 there was also a new beginning, this time for Bulgarian researchers who wish to participate in the EURATOM fusion programme. The “kick-off” meeting of the new Association EURATOM/Institute of Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS)), the INRNE, took place in the institute in Sofi a, where the Director of the INRNE, Dr. Stamenov, signed the Contract of Association.

During the meeting, the steering committee members of the Association and the Commission have been nominated and the work programme and mobility plan for 2007 were discussed. This contract will now be signed in December by the European Commission so that the Association will formally exist as from 1 January 2007.

Bulgaria has been associated with the EURATOM fusion programme since 2000, contributing by means of cost-sharing actions (limited duration contracts for specifi c work). Since that time Bulgarian researchers have had eight such cost-sharing actions, four in the EFDA technology programme (three involving neutronics, calculations for the ITER and DEMO blankets, and one assessing the technique of positron lifetime diagnosis of neutron irradiation damage in materials) and four in physics (two related to the production of negative ions in relation to the source for the ITER neutral beams, one involving PIC calculations of ELM-produced particle and energy pulses and their effect on the SOL, and one carrying out improved numerical modeling of gyrotron operation).


The Lithuanian participants: L.Pranevicius (Vytautas Magnas University), Z. Rudzikas (President of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences), Y. Capouet (European Commision), B. Green (European Commision), E. Uspuras (Director of the LEI), A. Zalys (Ministy of Education and Science), S.Rimkevicius (LEI).

On November 15, the Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI) became a new EURATOM Association. In the institute in Kaunas, the Director Dr. E. Uspuras signed the Contract of Association. Before its accession to the European Union in May 2004, Lithuania was not associated with EURATOM. However, from this time Lithuanian researchers have been active and in 2005 they managed to be successful in three EFDA technology calls for proposals so that they now participate by means of cost-sharing actions. These involve a safety study, the design and analysis of the inboard rail of the ITER divertor cassette, and the characterisation of W-coatings for fusion applications. Physics tasks (calculation of the cross-sections of atomic processes useful for plasma diagnostics) were delayed until the start of the new Association.


The Slovakian „Kick-Off“ Meeting: Standing from left to right; J. Skalny (CU), F. G.m.ry (IEE), G. Farkas (SUT), P. Ballo (SUT), J. Breza (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, SUT), V. Slugen (SUT), P. Mach (CU), S. Booth (European Commission), B. Ecker (VUJE), F. Dubeck (IEE), E. Rille (European Commission). Seated from left to right; J. Masarik (Vice-Dean for Research and Foreign Affairs, Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics, CU), Mrs. M. Cimbakova (Ministry of Education), B. Green (European Commission), Y. Capouet (European Commission), S. Matejčik (CU), J. Bahna (VUJE)

The third “kick-off” meeting of the new Association EURATOM/Comenius University (CU) took place on November 13 in the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics, Comenius University, Bratislava. Before its accession to the European Union in May 2004, Slovakia had been associated with EURATOM, and Slovakian researchers have participated in the fusion programme since 2000 by means of cost-sharing actions. Three of these were in physics in the area of plasma- wall interaction, and seven technology contracts in the fi elds of superconductor testing and development , studies on the radiation damage of materials using positron annihilation techniques and neutronics analysis of the diagnostic equatorial and upper plug blanket modules for ITER. The work programme 2007 will build on this expertise in plasma-wall interaction studies, superconductor development, the study of radiation damage of materials and neutronics.