Research & Development

Nuclear Fusion / IAEA And Iter Strengthen Cooperation

By David Dalton
19 June 2019

Long-term goal is to realise fusion energy production on an industrial, power-plant scale
IAEA And Iter Strengthen Cooperation
The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iter’s International Fusion Energy Organisation have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in nuclear fusion research with the long-term goal of realising fusion energy production on an industrial, power-plant scale.

The agency said it had signed the agreement, known as “practical arangements’, at its headquarters in Vienna this week. The document was conveyed to Bernard Bigot, Iter Organisation director-general, who signed it today at the Iter Council Session at Iter’s headquarters in St. Paul-lez-Durance, southern France. The arrangements “expand and deepen” a cooperation agreement from 2008, the IAEA said.

IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano noted the importance of the new arrangements. “The challenge to achieve the goal of fusion power production can only be met through concerted international efforts. Iter’s impressive work plays a central role in this field,” Mr Amano said. “We look forward to our intensified collaboration.”

Mr Bigot said the IAEA is “the key international organisation in fostering global research in this area”.

Under the arrangements Iter will share its experience related to nuclear fusion safety and radiation protection with the IAEA and its 171 member states. Iter’s information will play an important role in the potential development of IAEA safety standards related to nuclear fusion as well as relevant nuclear security guidance, the agency said.

The two organisations will also implement educational initiatives on plasma physics and fusion engineering. They will coordinate activities in public outreach and will cooperate in knowledge management and human resources development.

Fusion research aims to develop methods to harness the power generated by the fusion of light nuclei, a process comparable to the energy production of stars. It holds the promise of abundant, safe and carbon free energy.

Iter – the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor – is the world’s largest fusion experiment. Thirty-five nations are collaborating to build a tokamak, a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon free source of energy. Iter is costing about €20bn and scheduled to become operational in 2025.

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