Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development
Nuclear Department

Fusion Enegy Development

The realization of fusion energy requires scientific and technological research on various aspects such as those related to the control of the plasma, the exhaust of fusion power, the availability of functional and structural materials suitable for the internal components of the reactor, the fuel cycle, the validation of nuclear data, to the evaluation of safety aspects.

Research and development in all these areas are carried out in the Fusion Energy Development Division through numerous lines of activities, aimed in particular at the construction of ITER and DTT, the experimentation on JET and the design of the DEMO demonstration reactor as part of the common European program. In particular, the Division :• develops technologies related to plasma facing materials and components and those related to vacuum, produces and characterises prototypes

  • contributes to the development of nuclear databases and neutron codes;
  • carries out benchmark experiments at the FNG Neutron Generator for the validation of the neutron design of fusion reactor components;
  • carries out safety studies on nuclear fusion plants and their environmental impact and contributes to the of licensing criteria also by conducting specific tests;
  • develops processes for fuel treatment of fusion reactors;
  • develops advanced neutron diagnostics and control systems for fusion plasmas;
  • designs components for experimental plants for fusion and for reactor concepts developed in Europe.

supports the Department in managing ENEA's participation in the scientific, technological and industrial activities of the EUROfusion Consortium, F4E and ITER.

acts as Industry Liaison Officer in Italy for activities relating to F4E/ITER.

  • participates in the construction of the DTT facility, for which it ensures safety analyzes and the design and construction of plasma-facing components, numerous diagnostic systems and power supplies;
  • collaborates with the Italian industrial system through the transfer of know-how and joint participation in ITER supplies;
  • promotes national and international agreements for collaborations and the training of young people.

In addition, the Division operates one-of-a-kind research facilities:

  • the Frascati Neutron Generator (FNG), a source of medium intensity neutrons unique in Italy and one of the few in the world capable of producing neutrons from deuterium-tritium and deuterium-deuterium fusion reactions for research and industrial purposes;
  • The HRP laboratory where the Hot Radial Pressing process of diffusion welding at low temperature was developed for joining tungsten monoblocks and copper alloy tubes which form the basic element of the ITER divertor. The laboratory is equipped with a furnace for the casting (melting of the copper interlayer) of the monoblocks, furnaces for HRP (diffusion welding), a helium leak detector for checking the vacuum seal (leak test) after joining HRP, ultrasonic systems for the non-destructive control of welding defects;
  • the Membrane laboratory equipped with membrane reactors for the separation of hydrogen for the fuel cycle of nuclear fusion reactors and other industrial and environmental applications.

The Division scientists and technologists conduct research activities in collaboration with numerous institutes, research centers, universities and industries within the framework of national and international agreements. Several undergraduates, PhD students, young researchers and engineers are involved in the programme and are trained to work in an international environment on high-tech projects.

Radial Neutron Camera inside ITER
HRP plant
HRP plant for ITER Divertor manufacturing
The Frascati Neutron Generator (FNG)
The Frascati Neutron Generator (FNG)