Swiss researchers have participated in international projects in the field of plasma physics and controlled nuclear fusion for the last 25 years primarily in a European context. In participating in the research programmes of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), Swiss research on fusion has focused on its primary skills and is seen as an important partner at the European level. This is why Switzerland participates indirectly in the international organisation, ITER, which has been tasked with conducting a decisive experiment for determining the viability of nuclear fusion as a clean and safe source of energy. Switzerland is a member of Fusion for Energy, the common European company established to provide Europe’s contribution to the ITER project.
ITER is an international cooperation project set up in 2006 to build the ITER fusion reactor in Cadarache (France). ITER is expected to facilitate the final developmental step from experimental nuclear fusion to the production of fusion energy.
ITER has seven members: the EU, which represents the 28 states of the EU, the US, China, South Korea, Japan, Russia and India. Contributions to the construction of ITER were split up into 11 parts. The EU has taken on five and the other states one each. Most of the contributions are prepared by the member states and supplied in finished form to the central organisation (contributions in kind). Each ITER member is responsible for a ‘domestic agency' for preparing contributions in kind and transferring financial contributions to ITER. The EU's domestic agency is the common European company, Fusion for Energy, based in Barcelona. Planning the construction of ITER and the cost of it is currently under review to take into account the delays accumulated by the project. The result of the review will be communicated by the end of 2015.
Switzerland is not a direct member of ITER, and the EU represents it in ITER's governing bodies. Switzerland is a however a member of Fusion for Energy, and fully participates in its governance, and through this body, the governance of the ITER project.
Switzerland transfers the bulk of its financial contributions for the ITER project to the EU within the framework of the scientific cooperation agreement between Switzerland and the EU signed on 5 December 2014. As of 2014, Switzerland had contributed a total of CHF 183 million to the construction of ITER. The ITER project is expected to employ 1000 staff once its operations start, while Fusion for Energy will employ about 400.
The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) is responsible for Switzerland's participation in ITER and Fusion for Energy. Moreover, SERI is the centre of competence within the Federal Administration for all questions concerning research on nuclear fusion. In particular, it represents Switzerland at the Fusion Power Co-ordinating Committee, set up by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to monitor progress in research in nuclear fusion at the global level. Close cooperation exists with the Centre of Research in Plasma Physics (CRPP) of the EPFL, which represents Switzerland in the European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy' (EUROfusion). The consortium's activities are co-funded by the EU within the framework of the EURATOM research programme.
The construction of ITER creates substantial orders for Swiss industry. The Swiss Industry Liaison Office is responsible for promoting relations between Swiss companies and organisations associated with the ITER project (ITER Organisation, Fusion for Energy, etc.).
Programme de recherche Fusion thermonucléaire contrôlée (french) (PDF, 1 MB, 07.07.2016)Rapport de synthèse 2015
Programme de recherche Fusion thermonucléaire contrôlée (PDF, 6 MB, 07.08.2015)Rapport de synthèse 2014
Programme de recherche Fusion thermonucléaire contrôlée (PDF, 2 MB, 07.08.2015)Rapport de synthèse 2013
Programme de recherche Fusion thermonucléaire contrôlée (PDF, 2 MB, 07.08.2015)Rapport de synthèse 2012
Programme de recherche Fusion thermonucléaire contrôlée (PDF, 1 MB, 07.08.2015)Rapport de synthèse 2011
Programme de recherche Fusion thermonucléaire contrôlée (PDF, 3 MB, 07.08.2015)Rapport de synthèse 2010
Programme de recherche Fusion thermonucléaire contrôlée (PDF, 1 MB, 07.08.2015)Rapport de synthèse 2008
Head of the Swiss delegation to the Fusion for Energy Steering Committee
T +41 58 462 34 52
Scientific delegate representing Switzerland
Swiss representative to the Fusion for Energy to the Administrative and Finance Committee (AFC)
T +41 58 462 89 42