Introduction

Since the discovery of nuclear physics, scientists have been working to pacifically use atom’s energy. Despite the efforts during the second half of XX Century, the maintained energy production by the means of atomic nuclei fusion has not been yet reached. Nowadays, the hope in this field is called ITER.

ITER is an international collaboration, described as the greatest scientific effort planned by humanity, with a budget close to the 20,000 million euros. ITER expects to show the technological feasibility of nuclear fusion. It will be the biggest tokamak ever built, and it is expected to obtain the first results around 2020, with the first experiments planned for the middle of next decade and just in time to give way to DEMO, a fusion energy production central that will be built in order to prove the economic viability of the design.

 

Meanwhile, and surrounding ITER, modest experimental fusion plants are being built, with the aim of investigating, among other technological challenges, the behaviour of plasma under the intense magnetic fields generated by the enormous magnets in such facilities.

Other projects, alternatives to the tokamak, work for reaching the temperature and strain conditions needed in order to produce fusion. An example of it is fusion through high power lasers.

Fusion and related knowledge and technologies have been subject to research in Spain for more than 25 years. CIEMAT (CSIC) and its National Fusion Laboratory with the TJ-I and TJ-II (stellerator), are the referent that have trained several generations of important scientists. Spanish companies have contributed to such advances by supplying a big number of equipment and services, from which knowledge has been generated and what has allowed their participation in other big projects in other countries.

United Nation’s office for ITER and Fusion Technology (Fusion for Energy, F4E), that manages the joint contributions of Europe to ITER, has its headquarters in Barcelona.