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(SE/P-04) EU Socio-Economic Research on Fusion: Findings and Program

G. C. Tosato1)
1) European Fusion Development Agreement-Close Support Unit, Garching (Munich), European Commission

Abstract.  In 1997 the European Commission launched a Socio–Economic Research program to study under which conditions future fusion power plants may become competitive, compatible with the energy supply system and acceptable for the public. The program is developed by independent experts making use of well established international methodologies. It has been shown, among others, that: 1) local communities are ready to support the construction of an experimental fusion facility, if appropriate communication and awareness campaigns are carried out; 2) since the externalities are much lower than for competitors, fusion power plants may become the major producer of base load electricity at the end of the century in Europe, if climate changes have to be mitigated, if the construction of new nuclear fission power plants continues to be constrained and if nuclear fusion power plants become commercially available in 2050. Cooperating with major international organizations, the program for next year aims to demonstrate that the potential global benefits of fusion power plants in the second half of the century largely outdo the RD&D costs borne in the first half to make it available.

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IAEA 2003