Fusion for Energy 19 June 2017
Fusion is the only long-term sustainable base-load energy solution – this message came across during the ministerial conference entitled “Meeting the Challenge of Sustainable Energy” which took place 11 June in Astana, Kazakhstan. The European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, and Alexander Novak, the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, both spoke of the importance of fusion in their keynote speeches during the plenary ministerial dialogue, stressing how important fusion is in the energy mix and how it can contribute to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. United Nations representatives clearly stated that, even if the US would continue to work towards them in a committed manner, it is very unlikely that the established Paris Agreement goals will be met, and therefore new technologies are needed. “These comments demonstrate the significance of the ITER project and the work of F4E”, acknowledged F4E Director, Johannes Schwemmer.
Attended by ministers of energy, leading world experts and heads of the most authoritative international energy organizations, the conference’s key objective was to seek answers to clean energy challenges, to develop solutions for the sustainable use of natural energy resources, and to establish partnerships in energy efficiency and transfer of green technologies. The agreements reached by the ministers in Astana will be reflected in subsequent work on fulfilling collective arrangements in the framework of the United Nations.
In the margins of the ministerial conference, a cooperation agreement was signed between the ITER Organization and the Republic of Kazakhstan, with the ITER Organization officially welcoming the National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NNC-RK) as a new technical collaborator. The cooperation agreement encompasses scientific and engineering cooperation between the two institutions, including the technical exchange of experts, access to Kazakhstan’s KTM (Kazakhstan Tokamak for Materials studies) tokamak, for materials testing, and the development of diagnostics for ITER. Kazakhstan also has an abundance of mineral resources that are of great relevance to the ITER project, notably beryllium, which, for example, ITER’s Blanket First Wall will contain.