Science at the service of Europe


Sun’s energy process promises clean, cheap power

Europe is leading the way in fusion research, which promises to provide a source of abundant, affordable and environment-friendly energy.

EU funding in 2008
€280.25 million

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"ITER is the bridge to the first power plant that will demonstrate the production of large-scale electrical power by means of fusion technology."

Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the sun and the stars: a reaction in which energy is released when the nuclei of light atoms are fused together at very high temperatures. Fusion has the potential to become a huge and environment-friendly energy source for mankind within a few decades. Realising this potential requires a massive and long-term research effort, involving expertise in a very wide range of disciplines.

Despite the scale of the task, scientists and governments around the world agree that the ultimate promise of fusion merits their combined endeavour and investment.

In Europe, a network of laboratories is funded by the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). Its successes to date pave the way for demonstration of the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power, using a major experimental facility known as ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), which is under construction in Cadarache, southern France.