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JET fusion project secures brief funding reprieve

Image: EUROfusion [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Joint European Torus, an important nuclear fusion research facility, has been given a short-term funding extension amid uncertainty about how it will be affected by the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The British government and the European Commission have reached an agreement to continue their joint funding of JET up to 28 March, the UK Atomic Energy Authority told Research Fortnight. A previous funding agreement for JET, which is the world’s largest tokamak and is based at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, expired last month.

UKAEA said in a statement on 11 January that the two parties intend to agree a longer-term extension to the JET operating contract, “in the first instance for 2019-20”. This was agreed by EU ministers in October 2018, and a detailed work programme was signed off in December 2018, it said. But the UKAEA said that the sign off had come too late for a full 2019-20 extension to be agreed in time to ensure a smooth continuation of funding for the start of 2019, and that this was why a temporary measure was needed.

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