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Media Corner
23 September 2016

Kick-off meeting for DEMO Oriented Neutron Source (DONES)

DONES Technical information session, September 2016, Fusion for Energy

In the fusion energy roadmap the Demonstration fusion reactor (DEMO) will come after ITER. It will be a more powerful device which will be connected to the grid. To reach this stage of technology, however, we need to improve our know-how in several fields, including materials, which will be used inside the reactor. This is why the DEMO Oriented Neutron Source (DONES) is important. This new infrastructure will help fusion scientists to test materials in an environment mimicking DEMO conditions and on the basis of the tests we should be able to make progress.

Currently, within the framework of a scientific collaboration between Europe and Japan, known as the Broader Approach Agreement, three scientific projects will contribute towards the design of future fusion reactors beyond ITER. The International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF), in its Engineering Validation and Engineering Design Activities (EVEDA) phase, has been evolving successfully. But when its operation will come to an end, DONES, a future version of IFMIF, will take over and help the scientific community to perform tests and start collecting data. Three European countries – Croatia, Poland and Spain- have expressed interest in hosting this prestigious facility and contribute to the fusion roadmap. Fusion for Energy (F4E), acting as co-ordinator for the European activities of the Broader Approach, has taken the initiative to invite representatives of the three countries at a technical information session in Barcelona to explain the scope of DONES, outline some first technical specifications and offer a tentative calendar for the different steps leading to the submission of their application.

During the meeting the delegates of the three countries had the opportunity to meet and discuss with senior experts from the fusion community, analyse the terms of reference of the new infrastructure and hear from representatives of the European Commission how regional funds, and the criteria that apply to them, may be potentially considered to strengthen the financial backbone of their proposal. In order to help all countries during the preparatory stage, F4E has agreed to ask its Governing Board, the body that supervises its activities, to nominate a group of experts to offer guidance. The country delegates were asked to reflect on the information received and to develop jointly with F4E their applications for the infrastructure. In a nutshell the experts have started rolling up their sleeves and the real work is about to start. The activities will reach a crescendo in 2017 with the submission stage and the decision of the EU member states on the location of the facility.