Scientists and engineers working at the Joint European Torus (JET) have achieved a record performance for sustained fusion energy. It is the clearest demonstration of the potential for fusion energy to deliver safe and sustainable low-carbon energy in almost 25 years.
Researchers from the EUROfusion consortium – a team of 4,800 scientists, engineers, experts, students and staff from across Europe, including Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom (UK) – completed the fusion experimental campaign with the same fuel mixture to be used by future commercial fusion energy power plants.
EUROfusion scientists and engineers worked on the Joint European Torus (JET) jointly with scientists and researchers from the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the largest operational tokamak in the world, which is an experimental machine designed to harness the energy of fusion. They achieved a record of sustained fusion power in the form of heat during a five-second pulse – the duration of the plasma created by the JET machine. This produced a record 59 megajoules of fusion energy, more than doubling the previous record of 21.7 megajoules set in 1997 at JET while generating a vast amount of scientific data. It is a major step forward on fusion’s roadmap as a safe, efficient and low carbon energy.
JET is the largest existing fusion device in the world, on whose design the ITER project is most closely modelled. JET was built and has been operated in Culham, UK, as a Joint Undertaking of the European Community since 1977 under the Euratom Research and Training Programme.
JET operated under the new Contract for the Operation of the JET Facilities (NJOC), Euratom Research and Training Programme Article 10 bilateral contract between the Commission and the CCFE between 1 January 2014 and 31 October 2021. During the past 7 years the EU contributed almost half a billion EUR to the operation of JET through this contract. Following the conclusion of NJOC, the responsibility for the JET Facility has been fully transferred to the UK, which is the owner and operator of JET.
JET is key to the European Research Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy. Results from crucial experiments conducted in the tokamak are a major boost for ITER. ITER is a large-scale experiment designed to prove the scientific and technical viability of fusion as a new energy source, and to take fusion energy to the threshold of industrial exploitation. It is supported by the EU and other major international partners.
European fusion laboratories collaborate through the consortium called EUROfusion - the European Consortium for Development of Fusion Energy - in line with the long-term strategy set out in the European research roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy. The EU contributed €679 million to EUROfusion through the Euratom Research & Training Programme 2014-2020.
ITER is a fusion energy research project under construction in Cadarache, in the South of France, supported by the European Union as its biggest contributor and other major international actors (China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the USA). ITER aims to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy. It will also provide guidance to Europe’s demonstration power plant DEMO, which will be designed to put electricity to the grid.
Euratom Research and Training Programme
Regulation establishing the Euratom Programme 2021-2025
- Date de publication
- 9 février 2022
- Direction générale de la recherche et de l’innovation