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Outline of the Key Action

Information last updated on 07.07.2000

Council Decision: Official Journal L 64 of 25.01.1999

Duration: 25.01.1999 - 31.12.2002

EU contribution: EURO 788 million

Aim of the key action: to further develop the necessary basis for a decision on and the possible construction of an experimental reactor, as well as basic concepts and technologies required in the longer term. This strategy entails three main lines:

- Next-step activities
The fusion physics and technology activities will aim to develop the capacity, especially within the associations, JET and the European industry, to construct and operate an experimental reactor. Europe will continue to participate in the ITER engineering design activities (EDA) with a view to its possible construction.
Research priorities: to finalise the design, to complete the tests of prototypes and the supporting research; to finalise the procurement specifications; to consolidate the necessary scientific basis; adaptation of the design of the experimental reactor to at least one possible specific site within the EU and initiation of the dialogue with the potential licensing authorities; to complete the full-scale operation of JET; the possible extended use of the JET facilities by teams from organisations associated with Euratom to obtain further knowledge for the Next step will be explored.

- Concept improvements
Structured activities in the field of physics will focus on improving the basic concepts of fusion devices, including from the perspective of preparing the Next step and the conceptual definition of DEMO.
Research priorities: the construction, the exploitation and the upgrading of fusion devices, decided on during the previous framework programme and the upgrading of other existing devices; the diagnostics and the means of action on fusion plasmas; the continuation of theoretical studies; studies aiming at operating a remotely located fusion experiment; in addition to magnetic confinement, which includes the main line tokamak research and the pursuit of a range of options such as the stellarator, the spherical tokamak and the reversed field pinch, coordination in the context of a keep-in-touch activity of the national civil research activities on inertial confinement and possible alternative concepts.

- Long-term technology
Structured technological activities will be aimed at preparing, in the longer term, for the demonstration reactor (DEMO) and then a prototype reactor.
Research priorities: to develop tritium breeding blankets and a reference structural material for constructing DEMO-relevant modules; to carry out prospective studies on advanced low-activation and radiation-resistant materials for DEMO; a new safety and environmental impact assessment; a conceptual study of a DEMO reference design.

In addition, the socioeconomic aspects of fusion will be investigated. These socioeconomic studies will include evaluation of economic costs and of social acceptability of fusion, in comparison with other energy sources and should help in evaluating its potential to contribute to sustainable energy generation. Supplementing the technological activities, these studies will inform decisions for the future orientation of the programme.

Shematic fusion
Schematic of a Fusion Reactor

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FUSION KEY ACTION | 07.07.2000

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