Harnessing the sun: Europe and Brazil strengthen ties in fusion research
Brussels, 27 November 2009
The European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the Brazilian Government have today signed a cooperation agreement in fusion energy research. Fusion aims to recreate the same reaction which fires the sun. Euratom sees the agreement as a step forward in the potential involvement of Brazil in the international fusion project ITER, the world's most ambitious fusion experimental reactor, which is currently under construction in Cadarache (France).
The agreement establishes substantial bilateral cooperation in terms of programme convergence and through the sharing of facilities and personnel It will strengthen Brazilian participation in major Euratom fusion experiments and the actual fusion research activities of both partners – carried out through an institutionalised collaborative framework – will further complement each other.
It also opens the possibility for Brazil to be involved in the current biggest fusion experimental tokamak in the world, the Joint European Torus (JET) research insfrastructure in Culham (UK). JET is regarded as the most advanced reference for ITER.
Brazil is an important global partner with excellent research capability. It is also the third non–ITER party after Ukraine and Kazakhstan with which Euratom has concluded a bilateral agreement on fusion research. They are already investing in fusion research, supporting programmes and collaborative activities with foreign laboratories and research centres.
In Brazil, the area of fusion research is included as part of ‘Advanced Nuclear Systems’ in the Ministry of Science and Technology's (MCT) Action Plan 2007-2010. Fusion research activities are coordinated by the 'National Network for Fusion research' (RNF). About one hundred scientists and PhD students participate in RNF.
A new National Fusion Laboratory is planned to be constructed by 2010 in Cachoeira Paulista (State of São Paulo).
The European Commission is managing the overall policy for fusion research and ITER construction with Euratom. The budget is about €1.9bn over the period 2007-2011.