Fusion: ENEA to announce DTT host site by April 10


By April 10 ENEA will announce the winner of the national competion for the selection of the site to host the DTT, (Divertor Tokamak Test),  the fusion research infrastructure envisaging 500 million euro investments, as established during the meeting held by the  Agency’s Board of Directors on February 28, on the basis of the communications received from the “Commission for the evaluation of proposals and establishment of the ranking”, which is surveying the sites and examining the proposals.

The deadline was set on the basis of the nine proposals  from Abruzzi, Campania, Emilia-Romagna (with a site in tandem with Tuscany), Latium,  Liguria (with two sites), Piedmont, Apulia and Veneto, and evaluating the compliance with the requirements of the call,  such as the extent of the area, the compliance with the urban development plan, the environmental certifications, the presence of infrastructures and industrial areas and the possible synergies.

“We are very pleased with this broad participation by such qualified subjects. The implementation of this international infrastructure in Italy, also with European funds, confirms the leading role of Italian research in the field of nuclear fusion” Federico Testa, President of ENEA, pointed out.

”In order to guarantee a choice maximizing the benefits not just for ENEA but for the whole Country, the Commission has included qualified public figures capable of ensuring a choice based on objective and transparent criteria, core principle of the entire process” Testa concluded.

The Commission is headed by Alessandro Ortis, former Director General of the Ministry of Industry, former Chairperson of the Authority for Electricity and Gas and Vice-President of the European Regulatory Group; the other members are: Aldo Pizzuto, Director of the ENEA Fusion Department,  Flavio Crisanti, Scientific Director of the DTT project , Roberto Piovan, Head of the Engineering Development of the Consortium  RFX, Giuseppe Pica,  Head of the ENEA Administration Department, Giuseppe Gabriele Mizzitelli of the ENEA Fusion Technologies Department and  Marco Citterio of the Department of Infrastructures.

A major research project

The Divertor Tokamak Test facility (DTT) is one of the most ambitious  technology projects in the field of energy production from fusion, with significant impact at the national and european level. The investment envisaged is of approximately 500 million euro among state and private funding, with 60 million euro already allocated by EUROfusion, 40 million euro by the MIUR and 40 million committed by the MiSE at 2019.

Developed by ENEA in collaboration with the CNR, INFN, Consorzio RFX, CREATE and some prestigious universities, and the involvement of over 1500 qualified personnel directly and in the supply chain, the DTT aims at meeting some of the greatest challenges posed by fusion: managing the great power flows produced by plasma fuel and testing new materials capable of withstanding extremely high temperatures. The objective is creating a connecting link between the international nuclear fusion project ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) and the reactor DEMO, expected to generate electricity from fusion energy by 2050, a process allowing to obtain renewable and safe energy, capable of replacing fossil fuels at competitive costs, mimicking the physics process thar powers the stars.

DTT will be a hyper-technological cylinder, ten meter high with a 5 meter radius, inside which 33 m3 of plasma are brought to a temperature of 100million degrees with a current intensity of 6 million amperes (equal to the current of six million lamps) and a thermal load on materials up to 50 million watts per square meter (over double the power of a rocket taking off).

The “heated” plasma will work at a  temperature of over 100million degrees, while the 26 km of niobium and tin  and the 16 in niobium and titanium superconductors cables just a few centimetres away, will be at a temperature of 269° below zero. Thanks to last generation superconducting materials developed at ENEA in collaboration with industries of this sector, the plasma inside the DTT will reach an energy density similar to that of the future reactor.  The target of the power source is the divertor, key element of the tokamak, made of tungsten or liquid metals, removable only by means of advanced remote handling systems.

Italy leader in fusion research

The implementation of the DTT in Italy confirms the leading role our Country has in the sector of nuclear fusion,  in the major international research programmes ITER, Broader Approach and DEMO and as partner of the  Consortium  EUROfusion and the Agency Ue Fusion for Energy (F4E).

The ENEA Fusion and  Technologies Department and the Frascati and Brasimone Research Centers are internationally recognized reference points of excellence in the fields of superconductivity, plasma interface components, neutronics, safety, remote handling, plasma physics, and the creation of facilities for the study of magnetic confinement plasmas and fusion machines such as the Frascati Tokamak (FT) and the Frascati Tokamak Upgrade (FTU).

Over the last two decades ENEA has registered more than 50 nuclear fusion patents, with significant positive impacts in terms of development and competitiveness of national companies.

ENEA is coordinator of the national research programme on fusion and of ICAS (Italian Consortium for Applied Superconductivity) which plays an active role in the manufacturing of components within Broader Approach and ITER.