What is Fusion?
A fusion reaction is the energy source of the sun and the stars. When two hydrogen atoms ‘fuse’ under extremely high temperature and pressure, they turn into helium and release enormous amounts of energy. Fusion may provide safe, non-carbon emitting, and efficient energy for the future.
One of the main challenges to developing fusion technology is to provide the appropriate environment where the atoms can fuse in a steady and continuous way. Recreating the extremely high temperature and pressures on the earth requires reaching 150 million degrees Celsius, under which conditions the reactants exist as a plasma. Today, several parallel research projects are ongoing to accelerate the realisation of fusion energy as an alternative cleaner and safer source of energy for future generations.
What is IFMIF?
The International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF) is a fusion neutron source intended for use as a test facility to find and qualify new advanced materials for the plasma-facing components in future fusion reactors. These materials must be resilient against an extremely intense bombardment of high energy neutrons inside a fusion reactor. Understanding the effects of high neutron flux and the mechanical degradation that follows is a key to construct efficient and viable fusion power plants in the future, such as DEMO.
What will IFMIF do?
IFMIF will allow accelerated testing of candidate materials and will allow to:
- Provide data for the engineering design for DEMO, an industry and technology driven programme that will produce fusion electricity to the grid.
- Contribute to the selection or optimization of different alternative fusion materials
- Provide information on the performance of materials and materials systems for DEMO and beyond
- Contribute to the completion and validation of existing databases that gather the data required for licensing and safety assessment
What is IFMIF/EVEDA?
The IFMIF project started in 1994 as an international scientific research program, carried out by Japan, the European Union, the United States and Russia, and managed by the International Energy Agency. Since 2007, the activities are pursued through the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF)/ Engineering Design and Engineering Validation Activities (EVEDA) project, one of the activities under the Broader Approach Agreement, the EU-Japan collaboration aiming to complement the ITER project and accelerate the development of fusion.
The IFMIF/EVEDA project aims to produce an integrated engineering design of the IFMIF plant and the data necessary for future decisions on the construction, operation, exploitation and decommissioning of the future Fusion Neutron Source by completing the engineering validation activities of its three main facilities: the Test Facility, the Lithium Target Facility, and the Accelerator Facility (LIPAc).
Following the successful completion of the first phase of this project, in March 2020, Europe and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to continuing their joint activities by signing a Joint Declaration supplementing the BA Agreement. In this second phase, IFMIF/EVEDA will focus on the enhancement of the LIPAc operation by design improvement and the update of the IFMIF Fusion Neutron Source.