In February 2007, Euratom and the Japan signed the Broader Approach agreement. This aims to complement the ITER Project and to accelerate the realisation of fusion energy by carrying out R&D and developing some advanced technologies for future demonstration fusion power reactors (DEMO). Within the Broader Approach, three main projects are being implemented:
Mr Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Mr Hugh Richardson, the Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Commission to Japan, signing the "Agreement for the Joint Implementation of the Broader Approach Activities in the Field of Fusion Energy Research"
The first project will complete the detailed and fully integrated engineering design of the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF). Fusion as a major energy source will require materials which maintain their essential physical properties and which do not remain highly radioactive for extended periods of time after exposure to the harsh thermal and irradiation conditions inside a fusion reactor. IFMIF will allow testing and qualification of advanced materials in an environment similar to that of a future fusion power plant.
The second project is the Japan-EU Satellite Tokamak Programme (STP). During ITER construction, major experimental facilities will be required to develop operating scenarios and address key physics issues for an efficient start up of ITER experimentation and for research towards DEMO. The STP in Japan has been identified as a device which could fulfil these objectives. It will therefore be upgraded to an advanced superconducting tokamak and used by Europe and Japan as a “satellite” facility to ITER.
International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF)
The third project is the International Fusion Energy Research Centre (IFERC). The missions of the centre include the co-ordination of DEMO Design and R&D activities, large scale simulation activities of fusion plasmas by super-computer and remote experimentation activities to facilitate a broad participation of scientists into ITER experiments.
To develop synergy with its activities related to ITER, it was decided that F4E should also be the Implementing Agency of Euratom for the Broader Approach. The resources for the implementation of the Broader Approach will be largely provided on a voluntary basis from several participating European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland).