The long-term involvement of European industry in fusion is of great strategic interest for Europe. Not only is the fusion programme, including the ITER project, clearly aligned to the EU's Lisbon Strategy for knowledge-based competitiveness, but it is also a key component of the EU's long-term Strategic Energy Technology Plan.
The development of fusion represents an outstanding opportunity for the European high-technology industry. Working in close co-operation with research centres across Europe, industry has already played a significant part in the progress of fusion development so far.
The skills and knowledge acquired whilst building systems and components for ITER will help further boost European industrial competitiveness. The full involvement of industry with the fusion programme is essential to participate in the development of fusion power technologies for DEMO and exploit the opportunities for future power plant construction worldwide.
Fusion for Energy
Fusion for Energy (F4E) is the EU's organisation responsible for providing Europe's in-kind contribution to ITER. One of its main tasks is to procure components and manufacturing capabilities for ITER (BA). Ultimately F4E is expected to participate in developing fusion reactors for demonstration.
F4E manages the procurement process through periodic calls for specified procurement packages. These are tendered in an open and transparent manner to European industry. F4E also manages a database of European companies that have expressed interest in the call process. The F4E calls are open to industry across Europe that can demonstrate the necessary competences required.
A wide variety of high technology areas may feature in any call including joining, coating, heating and materials technologies, magnetic and power systems, robotics, fabrication and inspection, as well as general construction and business services.
ITER is a high-profile joint project between China, the EU, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US. Firms supplying components and equipment to the project will thus be able to showcase their products on a worldwide stage.
Both industry and the fusion research programme will benefit from this stronger collaboration. Beyond increased competitiveness and industry projects for DEMO, there are many opportunities for SMEs. These include the possibility to develop spin-off companies on specific technology collaborations and the broadening of the fusion industry base for the future.