2 years ago

20 years of European journalism & history

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Twenty years doesn't seem a lot. Certainly not in the light of European history. But while we were writing this magazine for the 20th anniversary of EUobserver, we were surprised just how much happened in the European Union in those two decades.


ARTICLE BY FUSION FOR EUROPE European Joint Undertaking ‘Fusion for Energy’ (F4E) Start of ITER assembly brings fusion energy a step closer, supporting Europe’s economic recovery and contributing to the EU Green Deal Fusion can play a role in the sustainable energy mix of the future Fighting climate change and achieving a clean energy transition is the biggest challenge of the 21st century. These are the main priorities in Europe’s strategy for green, sustainable growth - the “European Green Deal” – aiming at a cut of CO2 emissions by at least 55% by 2030, and climate neutrality by 2050. Fusion can play a role in the sustainable energy mix of the future. While it is a longer-term solution, it fits perfectly with the objectives of the European Green Deal. Fusion has the potential to complement renewable energy sources by providing a steady supply of “baseload” electricity when needed. Scientists have often described fusion as the Holy Grail of energy; it powers the Sun, making life on Earth possible. It also combines a number of advantages: the fuel it requires is abundant, small amounts can release plenty of energy with no greenhouse gas emissions or long-lasting radioactive waste. Last but not least, fusion power plants will be inherently safe.

ITER cryostat base lift off operation. Moving from the Assembly Hall into the Tokamak Building, the home of the biggest fusion device © ITER Organization arrival of various components from different parts of the world continued in line with new health and safety provisions for the pandemic. F4E delivered two of the eighteen massive superconducting Toroidal Field coils and the first Poloidal Field coil, both part of the impressive system that which will produce the magnetic fields to initiate, confine, shape and control the hot plasma. JT60-SA advancement of assembly, January 2020 ITER will be the most powerful fusion device ever and is considered the biggest international scientific collaboration in the field of energy. It brings together the EU plus Switzerland, China, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the US, collectively representing half of the world’s population. The project presents us with an incredible opportunity to explore the potential of fusion energy. The EU is the host of this experiment (located in Southern France), providing half of its components, all of the buildings and infrastructure. Fusion for Energy (F4E), responsible for Europe’s contribution to ITER, is working together with hundreds of companies and research centres to design, develop and manufacture the complex components of the ITER device. This investment produces significant benefits to Europe’s economy. Independent studies highlight that from more than 900 contracts placed by F4E for a value of 4.5 billion Euro, the cumulative gains for Europe’s economy are in the range of 4.8 billion Euro creating 34000 job-years between 2008 and 2017. Supporting the project in the next Multiannual Financial Framework with similar funding levels will contribute to Europe’s industrial recovery, ensure a leading position in the race of innovation, and broaden its energy options. To celebrate the start of ITER’s assembly phase, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, hosted a virtual event bringing together senior policymakers from the different parties involved in the project. They all stressed the importance of this experiment and reminded us all that global challenges like climate change and energy supply require international collaboration, vision and ambition. While ITER is planned to start operations towards the end of 2025, the fusion community will also be paying close attention to another fusion device - JT60-SA. The machine, about half the size of ITER and resulting from the collaboration between F4E and Japan, will be switched on in 2021. JT60-SA will be the largest superconducting fusion device in the world until ITER is complete. EU scientists and engineers will benefit from its operation improving our know how on various aspects of technology and the operation of fusion devices. ITER is an essential step to bringing the “power of the Sun to Earth”. It will generate new knowledge, which is fundamental in our quest for abundant, safe and sustainable energy in line with the goals set by the EU Green Deal. At the same time, investment in fusion energy is stimulating innovation and growth, creating jobs, business opportunities and fostering innovation. 2020 proved to be a turning point for the ITER project, in spite of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. In spring, the construction works carried out by Europe successfully allowed for the beginning of the machine’s assembly. This paved the way for the spectacular installation of the lower base and cylinder of the cryostat – the 29m x 29m steel structure surrounding the ITER device ensuring an ultra-cool, vacuum environment - weighing 1 600 tonnes. The manufacturing and Europe’s first powerful superconducting magnet for ITER is ready. More than 40 companies counting 700 people, have received money from the EU to manufacture this component, March 2020. 13 — EUOBSERVER ANNIVERSARY 2020

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