Energy, Frascati to host international fusion research centre
Frascati will host the Divertor Tokamak Test facility-DTT, the international centre of excellence for nuclear fusion research. This was established by ENEA’s Board of Directors, which approved the final shortlist of the nine Italian sites nominated to host the research facility, which aims to provide important answers for the construction of the first demonstration fusion reactor DEMO.
On the basis of its compliance with the technical, economic and environmental requirements, the Frascati site obtained the highest score from the special Evaluation Commission, followed by Cittadella della Ricerca (Brindisi) and Manoppello (Pescara). “Now the operational phase will begin, which requires the greatest effort to meet the deadlines and requirements set out, starting with the signing of an agreement with Regione Lazio”, said ENEA President Federico Testa.
Conceived by ENEA in collaboration with CNR, INFN, RFX Consortium, CREATE and some of the most prestigious Italian universities, the DTT facility will be a hyper-technological cylinder, 100 metre high with a 5 metre radius, within which 33 cubic metres of plasma will be confined at a temperature of over 100 million degrees. This hyper-technological machine aims to reproduce the physical mechanism of nuclear fusion that powers the stars, in order to obtain renewable and safe energy, capable of replacing fossil fuels at competitive costs.
In particular, the main objective of DTT will be to provide scientific and technological answers to some major issues in the fusion process – such as the management of very high temperatures – by acting as the connecting link between the major international ITER project, under construction in France, and DEMO, the demonstration reactor that is expected to produce electricity from nuclear fusion after 2050.
The works for the construction of DTT in Frascati are expected to start by 30 November 2018 and last seven years. The project will involve over 1,500 people and is expected to produce a return of 2 billion euro against an investment of about 500 million euro from public and private institutions, including the European EUROfusion consortium (60 million euro), the Ministry of Education, University and Research (40 million euro), the Ministry of Economic Development (40 million euro, starting in 2019), the People’s Republic of China (30 million euro), Regione Lazio (25 million euro), ENEA and partners (50 million euro), along with a 250 million euro loan from the European Investment Bank.