European Fusion Development Agreement
Fusion research aims at providing mankind with an abundant, safe and environmentally friendly energy source for the future - an increasingly important area of R&D in light of global concerns over global warming and climate change.
In order to harness the power released from the fusion of light nuclei (the process powering the Sun), so-called 'tokamak' experiments utilise powerful magnetic fields and electrical currents to heat and confine a very hot gas (or plasma) at temperatures approaching 200 million degrees C. The JET tokamak based at Culham Science Centre in the UK is the centrepiece of the European fusion research programme - attaining plasma conditions sufficient for fusion to occur. Work on JET - supported by many other fusion experiments around Europe - has proved invaluable in the design of the next step international device, ITER - which will produce significant fusion power (500MW) on the scale of a powerplant.
Interior of JET - with a plasma shown on the right hand side of the vessel
JET - Europe's largest fusion device - funded and used in partnership
The European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA JET) was established in 1999 as a framework between Euratom and associated fusion research programmes in most EU countries with the aim of strengthening co-ordination and collaboration.
As a joint venture, JET is collectively used by more than 40 laboratories of EURATOM Associations. The European Fusion Development Agreement, EFDA for short, provides the work platform to exploit JET in an efficient and focused way. As a consequence more than 350 scientists and engineers from all over Europe currently contribute to the JET programme.
In particular, EFDA JET provides the framework for:
- technology activities carried out by the Associations and by European industry
- the collective use of the JET facilities by fusion scientists from the associated organisations
- the European contributions to international collaborations such as ITER