Europe launches first procurement for ITER
Fusion for Energy (F4E), the agency responsible for Europe’s contribution to the international experimental thermonuclear reactor (ITER), is expected to unlock new business opportunities for
industry with the launch of its first ever procurement.
Established in April 2007, the Barcelona-based F4E is working with industry and research organisations around Europe to provide the components needed to build the experimental fusion reactor.
The aim of the agency’s first procurement is to supply the chromium-plated copper strands for ITER’s super conducting magnets, which will hold the plasma in position within the reactor.
‘This first procurement marks the beginning of a strong partnership with European industry and research organisations in providing the components for ITER and ensuring its successful
operation,’ explained Fusion for Energy Director, Didier Gambier.
Almost half the parts that make up ITER will come from Europe, in the form of ‘in-kind’ contributions. F4E has a budget of ?4 billion for the first 10 years.
ITER is an international collaborative research project on an unprecedented scale, involving seven partners: the EU, Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Russia, India and the US.
Located in Cadarache, southern France, the experimental reactor will attempt to reproduce on Earth the nuclear reactions that power the Sun and other stars. To produce this energy, the reactor
will need to heat hydrogen plasma to temperatures exceeding 100 million °C.
It is estimated that the reactor could produce, in lasting pulses, fusion power of some 500 megawatts. Because the temperature of the plasma will be so high, it must be contained within a
magnetic field, avoiding any contact with the vessel wall.
‘By bringing together the knowledge and expertise needed for the construction of a demonstration fusion power plant, Fusion for Energy should become a centre of excellence that will allow
Europe and its partners to benefit fully from fusion energy in the future,’ predicted Janez Potocnik, EU Commissioner for Science and Research at the time of F4E’s opening.
In addition to its role in procuring parts for ITER, the agency will provide the European contributions to the ‘broader approach’ agreement with Japan on collaborative fusion research projects.
These include the engineering design activities for the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF), a joint initiative between the EU, Japan, Russia and the US.
The agency’s mandate, which runs for a period of 35 years, is also to prepare for the construction of demonstration fusion reactors (or DEMO) that can demonstrate large-scale electrical power
For more information about F4E, please visit:
For information on funding for fusion research under FP7, please visit: