It is still long before nuclear fusion can become a reliable and commercially viable source of baseload electricity for our energy mix. It is unlikely that it will, in any way, support the path to deep decarbonization of our economies by 2050. Nonetheless, it can be a crucial stabilizing factor for the continued success of the world’s energy transition in the second half of this century.
The ITER project is currently the biggest and most ambitious nuclear fusion project in the world. It is supported by the EU (including Switzerland), the USA, China, Japan, India, South Korea and Russia, with the Europeans taking the lead by providing the location for the reactor in France and the lion’s share of the budget (45%). From its inception in 2007 and until the milestone of First Plasma (i.e. formal start of testing) in 2025, the EU has committed roughly EUR 450 million per year to the project.
In two separate studies, one with an ex-post and another with an ex-ante focus, we sought to unravel 1) the impact that the European contributions to ITER have had on the EU economy to date and 2) the impact that a change of delivery mechanisms and funding amounts would have on these variables in the future. We found that European investment into ITER has continuously provided palpable benefits to the EU economy in the form of growth stimuli, employment, and competitiveness. Furthermore, to keep momentum for ITER and nuclear fusion technology development high, it seems most advisable to preserve the current delivery mechanisms and the amount of yearly European contributions under the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework.
Please find more information on, and detailed findings of, the two studies on their respective webpages here and here. In case of further queries please feel free to contact our consultants Matthew Smith (Matthew.Smith@trinomics.eu) and Niclas Gottmann (Niclas.Gottmann@trinomics.eu) directly.