Important legal notice
Contact   |   Search   
Energy research

Homepage | News | Mission | Site map | FAQ | Links

 Eu and energy research

print version Print version

Non-nuclear energy


Fission and radiation protection

The realisation of ITER is a collaboration of seven parties: the EU (represented by EURATOM), Japan, the People’s Republic of China, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the USA.

Under this research topic, the seventh Euratom Framework Programme aims to develop activities for the joint realisation of ITER as an international research infrastructure. This aim takes into account the Community's special responsibility within the ITER Organisation, as host (ITER is being built in Cadarache, southern France) and leader of the project. In particular this relates to site preparation, the establishment of the ITER Organisation, management and staffing, plus general technical and administrative support.

Furthermore, Community participation in ITER as a party includes contributions to the construction of equipment and installations which are within the perimeter of the ITER site and necessary for its exploitation and support during construction.

R&D activities in support of ITER construction are carried out in the fusion associations and European industries. These activities include the development and testing of components and systems.

The ITER mission

ITER is an international R&D project conceived to take the next major step in the development of fusion energy as a safe, clean and sustainable energy source for our planet. This stage will demonstrate the physics required to achieve high power amplification (producing many times the amount of energy put into the experiment) and the essential associated technologies that a future fusion reactor will require, such as a first wall capable of resisting high heat loads, steady-state heating systems, and the breeding and recycling of tritium within the device.

ITER’s mission is to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes. To do this, ITER will produce several hundred MW of power for extended periods of time. It will demonstrate essential fusion energy technologies in an integrated system, and perform the integrated testing of key elements required to use fusion as a practical energy source.

Plasma size for ITER compared to current experiments

Plasma size for ITER compared to current experiments

ITER will be a machine of the tokamak type in which the toroidal (doughnut-shaped) fusion plasma is confined by strong magnetic fields. The device’s main objective is to demonstrate prolonged fusion power production in deuterium-tritium plasma. Compared with current conceptual designs for fusion power plants, ITER will include most of the necessary technology, but will be of slightly smaller dimensions and will operate at about one-fifth of the power output level.

ITER parameters

Height 24m
Width 30m
Plasma volume 837m3
Fusion power (thermal) 400 - 500MW
Plasma duration 300 - 500s
Power amplification (transient) >10
Power amplification (steady) >5
Plasma current 15MA

As indicated above, ITER will be designed to produce a fusion thermal power of about 500 MW but is capable of more as it is actively cooled. In contrast, JET has maximum power capabilities of few 10s of MW for a few seconds. JET has a power amplification parameter (Q) of 0.65, while ITER will be designed to have a steady state Q > 5. This means that the power output will be more than five times the power input with possible maximum power output up to 10 times the input. It will be the first fusion experiment to produce net power and will create the next major step for the advancement of fusion science and for the development of fusion as a practical source of energy.