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ENEA - Fusion division

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European and Worldwide Fusion

The fusion physics programme is co-ordinately conducted by the national research institutes associated to Euratom (the Associations), through the exploitation of the various experimental machines and the Joint European Torus (JET) at Culham (UK).

map of fusion research in Europe          Nuclear Fusion in EuropeThere are numerous experimental machines smaller than JET in Europe and all over the world that are specialised in different aspects of fusion studies. One such example is the ENEA Frascati Tokamak Upgrade (FTU).

All the research and technological development activities, the operation of JET and the contributions to international collaborations are coordinated through the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA).

JET is the largest fusion machine in the world (major radius 3 m, minor radius 1.2 m). In 1997 it reached the best performance by producing 16 MW of fusion power (65% of the absorbed power), 21 MJ of energy, operating with a deuterium-tritium plasma and experimenting some of the technologies needed to operate a fusion reactor.
JET has confirmed the physics and the scaling laws in plasma regimes close to those of ITER.

 

The European Union, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America , the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea and India, integrating their respective experience in the field of fusion and in tokamaks in particular, are working in collaboration on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project. The mission of ITER will be to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion as an energy source. At Moscow on 28th June 2005, the seven partners signed the Joint Declaration to proceed as soon as possible with the construction of ITER at the European site of Cadarache in the south of France.

ITER has twice the linear dimensions of JET and will generate 500 MW of fusion power for times of about 15-30 minutes. It will use and test in an integrated way all the key components required for the operation of a fusion reactor. If we consider that it will take about ten years to build ITER, we can expect the first plasma in 2016.