Authors interested in presenting a contributed paper at the 29th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2023) have until 16 March 2023 to submit a two-page synopsis here. The conference will be held from 16 to 21 October 2023 in London, United Kingdom, bringing together prominent scientists, researchers, engineers and other stakeholders representing both public and private sectors.
Established in 1961 and taking place every two years since 1974, the IAEA FEC is the global platform for the exchange of knowledge in nuclear fusion research and development, providing a space for analysis and discussion of the latest developments associated with fusion science and technology.
“At the time when the world is looking for cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, fusion finds itself increasingly in the spotlight of the international scientific community,” said Ryan Wagner, Senior Nuclear Expert in fusion technology at the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Energy. “Fuelled by continued research and significant private investments, the fusion energy industry is becoming a reality.”
The last few years have witnessed significant advances in fusion. In December 2022, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, National Ignition Facility (NIF) in the United States of America announced the first scientific energy gain in the history of fusion, generating about 3.15 megajoules (MJ) of energy from the 2.05 MJ energy output of its 192 lasers. In December 2021, the Joint European Torus (JET) in the United Kingdom achieved a record 59 megajoules of energy produced by fusion over five seconds. Also in 2021, China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) achieved stable 1,056 seconds steady-state high-temperature plasma operation, setting a record long-pulse operation and a new world record. Other major advances and progress were reported at the W7-X stellarator in Germany, MAST-U tokamak in the United Kingdom, KSTAR tokamak in the Republic of Korea and LHD heliotron in Japan. Watch the IAEA’s webinar series on fusion breakthroughs here.
At the same time, private sector companies continue to attract increasing investments – more than US $3 billion since June 2021. As of 2023, there are 33 companies located in different parts of the world, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Some of these companies have also achieved significant progress in recent years, for example, the successful demonstration by Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) of a record-breaking 20 T magnetic field in their first-of-a-kind superconducting magnet.
According to the IAEA’s Fusion Device Information System (FusDIS), there are more than 130 public and private experimental fusion devices operating, under construction or being planned around the world, including tokamaks, stellarators, laser-based devices and more. In addition, 12 concepts for demonstration fusion power plants, or DEMOs, are at various stages of development in China, Europe, Japan, Russia, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, with varying target completion dates spanning the next three decades. Read about the remaining challenges in our Bulletin on Fusion Energy.
These issues will be extensively discussed at this year’s conference, which will focus on topics as diverse as magnetic fusion experiments, theory and simulation; fusion energy technology; inertial fusion, and innovative and alternative fusion concepts.
“Our conference will review and reflect on the latest results of fusion R&D,” said Matteo Barbarino, Nuclear Plasma Fusion Specialist, at the IAEA Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, adding that the discussion will cover all topical areas of fusion including related theory and simulation, experiments, technology, materials science, engineering, safety, security, as well as its socio-economic and environmental aspects. The Conference will culminate in a special session on the pathways to commercializing fusion energy with an emphasis on private sector developments alongside publicly funded plans.
FEC 2023 is organised by the IAEA through the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and will be held at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London. It will be attended by high-profile participants, such as the ITER Organization and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) as well as representatives from dozens of countries, facilitating continuous and effective international collaboration on fusion.