EESC opinion: MFF and ITER

Key points:

  • The EESC notes that achieving clean energy is a high priority and to this end fusion energy is recognised as a potential long-term solution with Europe being at the forefront of developing fusion technologies which are carbon-free, sustainable and help secure our mix of energy supplies.
  • The EESC emphasises that the high level of long-term investment needed for the development of a fusion power plant does still entail some industrial risk, but in the event of success the realisation of a fusion power plant would be a newly introduced factor that would significantly change the existing energy supply by providing a disruptive innovation, with fusion fuel being abundant and virtually inexhaustible. 
  • The proposal addresses the key challenges facing the next MFF to sustain the positive momentum of the ITER project. The EESC appreciates the positive progress during recent years, after overcoming problems by a major overhaul of the ITER project (new senior management and a revised ITER baseline schedule).
  • The EESC encourages the Commission to emphasise more the importance of the necessity to link the ITER project and the European fusion research organised by EUROfusion, which is funded under the Research and Training Programme (EURATOM) and operates the Joint European Torus (JET), an important experimental facility located in Culham, United Kingdom.
  • The EESC understands that ITER has important issues that can only be addressed in JET and it therefore echoes the concerns about the effect of Brexit on a continuation of JET.