A new €850m programme has been launched by the European Commission to foster development of nuclear fusion as a future energy source.
The EUROfusion programme, funded through the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation framework, is a joint venture between the EU, Europe’s fusion laboratories, Euroatom and Fusion for Energy, Europe’s agency responsible for the delivery of ITER, the world’s largest experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor which is currently being built in southern France.
Covering the period between 2014 and 2018, the EUROfusion programme aims to address key scientific and technological challenges identified in a roadmap outlined by Europe’s fusion research laboratories in 2012.
"Fusion has the potential to become a reliable, safe, non-CO2 emitting and sustainable energy source,” said Guenther Oettinger, the Vice President of the European Commission and Commissionaire for Energy.
“Today's launching of our European Joint Programme on fusion shows how Europe benefits if we unite our research strength. EUROfusion provides the framework for Europe to maintain its world leading position in fusion research.”
The main focus of the five-year programme will be scientific and technical support to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and ensuring Europe is in a position to capitalise on the success of this pioneering project.
The UK-based Joint European Torus (JET) laboratory in Culham, will be at the centre of the research activities funded through EUROfusion.
The programme will also address fundamental issues related to the next generation fusion demonstration reactor DEMO – an experimental nuclear fusion power plant that will be connected to the grid and provide a blueprint for the deployment of fusion reactors across the world, enabling fusion to contribute to meeting the world's growing energy needs after 2050 alongside renewable energy such as wind and solar power.