IAEA Workshop Series is Another Step on the Path to Fusion
Cut away diagram of the ITER device. Credit: US ITER
As the availability and costs of energy have become worldwide concerns, the prospect of fusion becoming a possible energy source post-2050 has tremendous potential. Further progress is required to bring fusion as a power source within our reach and the building of an International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in the south of France is an important step in the realization of fusion energy. While internationally there is no agreement on a single roadmap to fusion, the science and technology issues to be resolved for fusion power to become a reality are broadly agreed.
The IAEA’s Demonstration Fusion Power Plant (DEMO) Programme Workshop series serves as a platform to facilitate international collaboration on defining and coordinating DEMO programme activities. The 3rd Workshop in the series was held in May in Hefei, China. Hosted by the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, it was attended by some 80 participants and 200 observers. Several national research & development plans including facilities for closing the gaps between ITER and a commercial power plant were revisited. In particular, in China the roadmap foresees construction of an engineering test reactor (CFETR) by 2020, which could be operational by 2030. The aim of CFETR is to allow an integrated testing of key components such as the fuel breeding blanket in a prototypical fusion environment. The meeting also further identified possibilities for international cooperation in order to minimise duplication of efforts and investment, and ensure optimization of the use of knowledge.