Tag Archives: Fusion

Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy

Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Research and innovation > Research in support of other policies

Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/198/Euratom of 27 March 2007 establishing a Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy and conferring advantages upon it.


This Decision establishes a Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for a period of 35 years starting on 19 April 2007. It has its seat in Barcelona in Spain.

The members of the Joint Undertaking are Euratom, represented by the Commission, the Member States of the European Union (EU), and certain third countries which have concluded cooperation agreements with Euratom in the field of controlled nuclear fusion. At the time of establishment of the Joint Undertaking, the third country in question is Switzerland.

The objectives of the Joint Undertaking are to provide Euratom’s contribution to the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization and to “Broader Approach” activities with Japan for the rapid realisation of fusion energy, and to prepare and co-ordinate a programme of activities in preparation for the construction of a demonstration fusion reactor (DEMO) and related facilities including the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF).

In addition to its other activities, the main tasks of the Joint Undertaking are to oversee the preparation of the site for the ITER project, to provide the ITER Organization with material, financial and human resources, to co-ordinate scientific and technological research and development activities in the field of fusion, and to act as an interface with the ITER Organization.

The total financial resources required for the Joint Undertaking are estimated to amount to 9 653 million euros, with a contribution from Euratom of 7 649 million euros (subject to a maximum of 15 % for administrative costs).

The Joint Undertaking has legal personality. Its organs are:

  • the Governing Board, consisting of two persons per member of the Joint Undertaking and assisted by the Executive Committee;
  • the Director, who is responsible for representing the Joint Undertaking and seeing to the day-to-day running of the Organization, including signing contracts.

The contractual liability of the Joint Undertaking is governed by the contract in question and the law applicable to it. The Court of Justice has jurisdiction to give judgment pursuant to any arbitration clause contained in such contract.

Furthermore, the Joint Undertaking will incur non-contractual liability, in accordance with the general principles common to the laws of the Member States, in respect of any damage caused by itself or its servants in the performance of their duties. The Court of Justice has jurisdiction in any dispute relating to compensation for such damage. In addition, the Court of Justice has jurisdiction to rule on appeals brought against the Joint Undertaking.

Background: ITER

Fusion energy, together with renewable energy sources and fission energy, is one of the three alternatives to fossil fuels. It is by far the most widespread in the universe – it is the source of energy radiated by the sun and other stars – but the least developed on earth of these three non-fossil energy sources.

The JET (Joint European Torus) project, established in 1978, contributed to advanced research in the field of fusion energy for several years. From 1988, the development of the ITER project represented a new stage in the field of fusion which culminated in 2001 in a detailed design for a research facility aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of fusion as an energy source from which the EU could derive significant benefit, in particular in the context of ensuring the security and diversity of its long-term energy supply.

In November 2003, the European Council authorised the Commission to put forward France as the ITER host state and Cadarache as the ITER site and decided that the Domestic Agency for Euratom should be located in Spain.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2007/198/Euratom


OJ L 90 of 30.3.2007.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Council Decision, of 19 May 2006, concerning the conclusion, by the Commission, of the Agreement on the Establishment of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization for the Joint Implementation of the ITER Project, of the Arrangement on Provisional Application of the Agreement on the Establishment of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization for the Joint Implementation on the ITER Project and of the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization for the Joint Implementation of the ITER Project [COM(2006) 240 final – Official Journal C 184 of 8.8.2006].
The proposal for a decision was adopted by the Council on 25 September 2006. It authorises the Commission to negotiate an agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), China, South Korea, the United States of America, India, Japan and Russia, on the creation of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization for the joint implementation of the ITER project. It also approves the conclusion of a provision on the provisional application of the agreement.

Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management as regards the multiannual financial framework, to address additional financing needs of the ITER project [COM(2010) 403 final – Not published in the Official Journal].In response to the Council conclusions of 12 July 2010 on the short-term additional financing need of the ITER project for commitment appropriations of EUR 1.4 billion (EUR 800 million in 2012 and EUR 600 million in 2013), in current prices, for 2012 and 2013, this Commission proposal aims at providing an amount of EUR 400 million by means of a revision of the multiannual financial framework while keeping the overall ceiling for commitment and payment appropriations over the period 2007-2013 unchanged. At the same time, an additional amount of EUR 460 million will be covered through redeployment from the Seventh Research Framework Programme. The commitment for financing the remaining amount of EUR 540 million shall be secured at a later stage, starting with the budgetary conciliation in November 2010, and then, if need be, the following annual budgetary procedures by using all budgetary means foreseen in the multiannual financial framework.

Communication of 4 May 2010 from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – ITER status and possible way forward [COM(2010) 226 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Communication notes the need to set out the governance and financial conditions for ITER.
In 2001, the cost of this project had been estimated at EUR 5.9 billion, with the EU contributing 45 % of that amount. The cost to the EU now amounts to EUR 7.2 billion according to the F4E Governing Board (the European Domestic Agency “Fusion For Energy”) which met in March 2010. This cost increase has resulted in a financing gap. It is therefore important to improve the governance of the ITER project in order to stop costs getting out of hand, but also in order to define a viable financial framework.
With regard to financing, the Commission therefore envisages two options:

  • implementing complementary financing from Member States;
  • setting financial perspectives ceilings at appropriate level.

The European Commission invites the Council and the European Parliament to adopt a decision appropriate to the current circumstances.

Communication from the Commission of 28 April 2003, entitled: State of progress of the negotiations concerning the ITER international nuclear fusion energy research project [COM(2003) 215 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Seventh Framework Programme: Euratom

Seventh Framework Programme: Euratom

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Seventh Framework Programme: Euratom


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Energy > Nuclear energy

Seventh Framework Programme: Euratom


Council Decision 2006/970/Euratom of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for nuclear research and training activities (2007 to 2011) [Official Journal L 400, 30.12.2006]; and

Council Decision 2006/977/Euratom of 19 December 2006 concerning the Specific Programme to be carried out by means of direct actions by the Joint Research Centre implementing the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for nuclear research and training activities (2007 to 2011) [Official Journal L 400, 30.12.2006].


The nuclear sector single-handedly produces one third of the electricity currently generated in the European Union (EU). This places nuclear power in a special position. As a clean provider, it plays a key role in environmental protection (by reducing greenhouse gases) and at the same time improves the Union’s independence, security and diversity of energy supply.

In the longer term, nuclear fusion * offers the prospect of an almost unlimited supply of clean energy. The ITER* project represents a clear added value in achieving that end. Its implementation and exploitation therefore lie at the heart of present EU strategy. Such an ambition must, however, be supported by a strong and focussed European R&D programme.

Nevertheless, nuclear fission * remains a viable option. In this context, research and training should focus on nuclear safety (radiation protection *), sustainable waste management, and improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the sector as a whole.

Achieving a healthy energy situation in Europe will require not only safeguarding existing sources, infrastructures, competences and know-how but also exploring new scientific and technological opportunities. With this in mind, the Specific Programme should help maintain the right level of investment in research while also optimising cooperation between the EU and its Member States.


The Euratom programme, which runs until 2011, is subdivided into two specific programmes. The first covers research into nuclear fusion, nuclear fission energy and radiation protection. The second concerns activities by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in the nuclear energy sphere.

The overall maximum amount for implementing the Seventh Framework Programme during the period 2007 to 2011 is EUR 2 751 million. A significant part of that budget will serve to finance the ITER international nuclear fusion project.

Euratom Specific Programme

The Specific Programme concerns the following areas:

  • nuclear fusion energy;
  • nuclear fission energy;
  • radiation protection.

In these areas, it seeks primarily to:

  • enhance excellence and innovation;
  • ensure a high level of cooperation and effectiveness through support for research and training.

The main benefit of the Specific Programme will be to strengthen nuclear research in the above areas at Community level. Synergies and complementarity with other Community policies and programmes will also be sought.

In the area of fusion energy, research will focus on:

  • developing a knowledge-base for the ITER project;
  • completing the construction phase of ITER, which should lead to the creation of prototype reactors, prior to the launch of the operation phase.

In terms of nuclear fission and radiation protection, the Programme seeks to establish a sound scientific and technical basis for better management (safer and more resource-efficient, competitive and environment-friendly) of energy and waste and the impact thereof.

In addition, performance indicators will be developed at three levels:

  • quantitative and qualitative indicators to show the path or direction of scientific and technical progress (new standards and tools, scientific techniques, patent applications and licence agreements for new products, processes and services, etc.);
  • management indicators (to monitor performance internally and support decision making, including budget execution, time to contract and time to payment, etc.);
  • outcome or impact indicators (to assess the overall effectiveness of the research against high-level objectives, e.g. impact of the Framework Programme on the Lisbon, Göteborg and Barcelona objectives in particular, and assessment at the Specific Programme level).

The budget amount deemed necessary for the execution of the Specific Programme will be EUR 2 234 million for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2011. Distribution of resources between the areas of activity will be as follows:

  • EUR 1 947 million will go towards fusion energy research;
  • EUR 287 million will be allocated to nuclear fission and radiation protection.

Activities of the JRC

The JRC’s activities in the nuclear sphere will help to support all the research activities undertaken through transnational cooperation in the following subject areas:

  • nuclear waste management, environmental impact;
  • nuclear security;
  • nuclear safety.

The objectives and main points of these activities are set out in the Annex to Decision 2006/977/Euratom.

The estimated amount needed to carry out this Specific Programme is EUR 517 million.

NB: During the implementation of the Seventh Framework Programme, including the different Specific Programmes and all research activities arising from it, fundamental ethical principles as well as social, legal, socio-economic, cultural considerations and gender equality are to be respected.


For each of the thematic areas (fusion energy, nuclear fission and radiation protection) an overall objective and a series of activities are defined. Specific objectives have also been defined for nuclear fission and radiation protection.

Fusion energy

Here the overall objective will be to enlist all the key players (researchers, industry, business, political decision-makers, etc.) and knowledge from the scientific community in the European fusion research programme. In more practical terms, efforts will be focused on constructing and operating ITER and its successor, DEMO *, in addition to wider-ranging projects to develop fusion energy.

The proposed activities will affect the following seven areas:

  • the realisation of ITER;
  • R&D in preparation of ITER operation;
  • technology activities in preparation of DEMO;
  • R&D activities for the longer term;
  • human resources, education and training;
  • infrastructures;
  • responding to emerging and unforeseen policy needs.

EU participation in the ITER project will specifically involve:

  • site preparation;
  • establishing the ITER organisation;
  • management and staffing;
  • general technical and administrative support;
  • construction of equipment and installations needed to operate the site;
  • a focused physics and technology programme including assessment of specific key technologies for ITER operation and exploration of ITER operating scenarios by means of targeted experiments and other modelling activities.

For the DEMO project, a technological experiment which should serve as a model for future industrial fusion reactors, the testing and validation of materials and technologies will continue and the reactor design phase will advance.

Building on the activities aimed specifically at ITER and DEMO, focus will also be placed on developing competences and enlarging the knowledge base in fields strategically relevant to future fusion power stations. The aim is twofold: this research should, in the longer term, lead to enhanced technical feasibility and economic viability of fusion power. The planned research will mainly concern:

  • magnetic confinement systems *;
  • fusion plasmas *;
  • sociological aspects and economics of fusion power generation;
  • fusion by inertial confinement *.

In order to ensure the human resources, education and training needed for the purposes of ITER, and of fusion research in general, the programme makes provision for:

  • support for the mobility of researchers between organisations participating in the programme, in order to promote enhanced collaboration and integration of the programme and to foster international cooperation;
  • high-level training for engineers and researchers at post-graduate and post-doctoral level, including the use of facilities in the programme as training platforms and dedicated seminars and workshops;
  • promotion of innovation and exchange of know-how with related universities, research institutes and industry.

In terms of infrastructure, the realisation of ITER in Europe will be the main component of the new European Research Programme.

In order, lastly, to respond to possible emerging needs or unforeseen political necessities affecting energy supply, climate change and sustainable development, a “fast-track” fusion development programme could be set up, which would bring fusion energy to the market earlier. The primary objective, and a major milestone, of the fast-track programme would be to complete DEMO ahead of schedule.

Nuclear fission

In this area, the overall objective to be attained appears multi-layered:

  • meeting training needs;
  • increasing support for infrastructures;
  • strengthening the European Research Area;
  • developing a common European view on key problems and approaches;
  • forging links between national programmes;
  • promoting networking with international organisations and third countries (USA, NIS, Canada, Japan, etc.);
  • strengthening Euratom’s role in coordinating research and technological development internationally;
  • ensuring coordination with the Joint Research Centre (JRC);
  • establishing links with research under the Seventh Framework Programme;
  • promoting international collaboration.

More specifically, nuclear fission raises a number of issues related to the management of radioactive waste. In this respect, research and technological development will focus on:

  • management and safety of the geological disposal of high-level and/or long-lived (HLLL) waste;
  • the European dimension of the management and disposal of such waste;
  • development of procedures to reduce the quantity and volume of HLLL waste (e.g. partitioning and transmutation * (P&T), etc.).

Action will also be taken on nuclear installations under the present Programme in order to make them even safer, more resource-efficient, more environmentally friendly and more competitive.

This Programme also provides for support for the design, refurbishment, construction and/or operation of nuclear fission research infrastructures. Facilitating transnational access by research workers to infrastructure is one of the priorities.

In order to promote the spreading of scientific competence and know-how throughout the sector, a variety of measures will address human resources and training in Europe and beyond. These measures principally aim to guarantee the availability of suitably qualified researchers and technicians, in particular by:

  • improving coordination between educational establishments in the EU (ensuring qualifications are equivalent across all Member States);
  • supporting traineeships and training networks as well as student and scientist mobility by means of grants and fellowships.

Radiation protection

Focusing on the question of risks linked to exposure to radiation at low and protracted doses, research into radiation protection will consist of:

  • quantifying such risks (epidemiological studies, cellular and molecular biology research, etc.);
  • enhancing the safety and efficacy of medical uses of radiation;
  • improving the coherence and integration of emergency management, including the rehabilitation of affected areas;
  • developing robust and practicable measures to manage the impact of malevolent uses of radiation or radioactive materials (including effects on human health and on the environment);
  • integrating national research activities more effectively in other areas (radioecology *, dosimetry *, etc.).


The European Union has been implementing research and technological development policy on the basis of multi-annual framework programmes since 1984. The Seventh Framework Programme is the second of these since the launch of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000 and it should play a vital role in boosting growth and employment in Europe in the coming years. The Commission wishes to develop a “knowledge triangle” created by policies on research, education and innovation designed to deploy knowledge in the interests of economic dynamism and social and environmental progress.

Key terms used in the act
  • Inertial confinement: inertial confinement fusion is achieved by focusing very powerful laser beams (or beams of accelerated particles) on a tiny glass pellet containing a mixture of deuterium and tritium (hydrogen isotopes).
  • Magnetic confinement: magnetic confinement fusion involves heating the fuel in a vacuum chamber and preventing it from expanding by means of strong electromagnetic fields. The fusion fuel should first have been converted into plasma, enabling magnetic fields to act upon it.
  • DEMO: demonstration reactor (prototype industrial generator).
  • Dosimetry: the measurement of radiation exposure doses.
  • Nuclear fission: nuclear fission, or fission, is the phenomenon whereby a heavy atom nucleus (such as a uranium or plutonium nucleus) is split into two (or more) lighter nuclei, releasing a considerable amount of energy.
  • Nuclear fusion: this is one of the two types of thermonuclear reaction. It occurs when two atomic nuclei fuse to form a heavier nucleus. The fusion of light nuclei releases an enormous quantity of energy stemming from the lack of mass (nuclear binding energy). This reaction is at work in the sun and all the stars in the universe.
  • ITER: international experimental thermonuclear reactor, a research tool designed to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of thermonuclear fusion.
  • Fusion plasma: material state in which fusion may occur. This is a very specific material state in which atoms or molecules, after losing one or more electrons, form an ionised gas.
  • Radioecology (or radiation ecology): branch of ecology which studies relationships between living species and the radioactivity of their environment.
  • Radiation protection: all measures to protect people and the environment against the harmful effects of ionising radiation (the effects of radioactivity) while allowing the radiation to be utilised.
  • Transmutation: in physics, this refers to the ability of certain radioactive atoms to decay and transform into other atoms. In nuclear physics, transmutation is what allows long-lived radioactive isotopes to be transformed into short-lived isotopes or stable isotopes.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2006/970/EC 1.1.2007 – 31.12.2013 OJ L 400 of 30.12.2006

Decision 2006/977/Euratom

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2011 OJ L 400 of 30.12.2006

Related Acts

Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1908/2006 of 19 December 2006 laying down the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in actions under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community and for the dissemination of research results (2007 to 2011) [Official Journal L 400, 30.12.2006].

This Regulation looks at the arrangements for undertakings, research centres and universities to participate in the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) (2007-2011). The document is divided into four chapters: introductory provisions, (subject matter, definitions and confidentiality), participation (minimum conditions to participate, procedural aspects, etc.), rules for dissemination and use (ownership, protection, publication, dissemination and use of new and existing knowledge, and access rights to this) and the specific rules for participation in activities under the thematic area “fusion energy research”.