Nuclear fusion is the process whereby nuclei of hydrogen atoms join together to form helium, liberating tremendous amounts of energy, which may be harnessed to generate electricity.
EU funding in 2009
Fusion could provide a continuous, large-scale energy supply which is safe, sustainable, affordable and environment-friendly. Europe has an integrated fusion research programme which pools the resources of all Member States.
Euratom’s fusion research programme and its flagship experiment JET (Joint European Torus) formed the basis for the design of ITER, an international experimental facility to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion currently being built in Cadarache, France.
In 2009, the project faced a number of challenges with regard to costs, risks, schedule and sound project management at all levels. In view of the difficulties faced by ITER and other large technological initiatives, the European Commission envisaged a review of the overall strategy for EU participation in large-scale scientific infrastructures.