The Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, representing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and Kazuo Kodama, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the European Union, signed today a joint declaration on the Broader Approach activities in the field of fusion energy.
Fusion has the potential to provide a safe, cost-efficient and sustainable solution to European and global energy needs. The EU is therefore part of a unique energy project called ITER, which aims to build the world’s biggest fusion machine. By fostering innovation and international collaborations, the project creates economic growth and job opportunities while putting the EU in the lead of global fusion research. Although a purely experimental device, ITER will help advance fusion energy technology for a greener and more sustainable energy mix.
In this context, today 2 March 2020, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, representing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and Kazuo Kodama, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the European Union, signed a joint declaration on the Broader Approach activities in the field of fusion energy.
The Broader Approach represents a highly successful collaboration between two major players in the global landscape of fusion research. Europe and Japan have taken stock of the progress made so far and reaffirmed their commitment to continuing their joint activities. From 2020, the Broader Approach will focus on operating and exploiting the facilities that have already been set up, for the benefit of both parties. As ITER is approaching its own First Plasma and the beginning of its operation, teams working on the Broader Approach will work ever more closely with ITER to ensure that it moves forward as smoothly as possible.
Transitioning to a decarbonised, climate-friendly society is one of the key challenges of modern times. A major component is the creation of a diverse, secure and climate-friendly energy mix. Fusion research aims to help reach this goal by developing the promising technology of fusion energy as a clean, safe power source for the future. The key facility on the road to fusion power is the ITER Project, a major international collaboration under construction in Cadarache, France. Complementary to ITER, the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), represented by the European Commission, and the Government of Japan, represented by its Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), are jointly investing in a project called the Broader Approach. The Broader Approach projects aim to accelerate global fusion development, while working to mitigate potential risks in ITER.
The Broader Approach activities consist of three projects, all located in Japan. One of these is the Satellite Tokamak Project, or JT-60SA, the largest, most advanced tokamak in the world. It is located in Naka, Ibaraki Prefecture. With its powerful heating systems able to inject targeted microwave energy and high-energy particles into the plasma, JT-60SA should reach plasma temperatures over 200 million °C, temperatures comparable to those that will be found in ITER. It also resembles ITER in its use of superconducting magnets, which will confine and control the plasma, and the liquid helium cooling system that will cool them to -269 °C. The major difference between the two machines is in their size; being about 12m across, JT-60SA is about half the size of ITER. Nevertheless, it will be the largest tokamak in the world before ITER begins operation. As the tokamak closest in design to ITER, JT-60SA will perform modelling to help scientists prepare as much as possible for the beginning of its operation. Once ITER is running, however, the focus of JT-60SA’s research is likely to shift towards preparation for the following generation of fusion reactors focusing on the demonstration and optimisation of steady-state operation of advanced plasma configurations.
The new Broader Approach brochure provides more information.
EC photos from the ceremony: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/reportage/P-042811
2 March 2020