DONES Steering Committee supports the ramp-up of the IFMIF-DONES international team
The second DONES Steering Committee, the highest governing body of the DONES Fusion Programme, met in Granada on 26 October to review the progress of the programme, in particular the findings of the panel of independent experts who analysed the current state of the DONES baseline data.
The preliminary review report of the panel of experts recommends the setting up without delay of the international team (programme team) to advance the construction of the particle accelerator in Escúzar (Granada).
The committee meeting which took place at the Palacio de Congresos in Granada was attended by representatives of 17 countries and the European Commission on behalf of EURATOM, the Consortium of European Fusion Laboratories (EUROfusion) and Fusion for Energy (F4E). Ukraine also took part in this board meeting for the first time.
Croatian Representatives were the Head Of the Unit for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Science and Education, Dr Stasa Skenzic, the Committee chairman, and Dr Tonči Tadić, the coordinator of Croatian fusion activities and the DONES.HR project consortium.
In addition, the DONES Steering Committee discussed the results achieved since the first Steering Committee meeting on 16 March 2023 in Granada.
In parallel, the representatives reviewed various activities to accelerate the project, such as the basis of the Programme Plan and the procedures for selecting key profiles for programme implementation, namely the Programme Manager and the Chief Engineer. The Committee was also informed about the current status of discussions with interested countries to determine their participation.
Dr Tonči Tadić, the coordinator of Croatian fusion activities and the DONES.HR project consortium shared his findings after the meeting.
"The representative of the European Commission was openly satisfied with the report of the independent panel of experts from the EU and Japan," commented Dr Tadić. "This positive reception was unanimously shared by all delegations present."
Dr Tadić highlighted the significant milestone achieved as the DONES project, which was originally a Spanish-Croatian initiative, is about to expand and anticipates the accession of several countries that will strengthen its position as a strategic project of the EU.
"Essentially, this report confirms that Spain and Croatia have successfully done their 'homework', i.e. they have prepared the DONES project well for this phase," added Dr Tadić. The report also notes that minor problems can be solved quickly if a central programming team is finally established, ideally led by an expert from the Fusion for Energy. This underlines the strategic importance of DONES not as a Spanish-Croatian project, but as an important EU endeavour.
Dr Tadić expressed his satisfaction not only on behalf of the Croatian and Spanish teams but also highlighted the excellent response from EURATOM, which reflects the spirit of cooperation and the shared vision for the future of the project.
Finally, a representative of the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council presented the safety and regulatory framework applicable to the IFMIF-DONES project.
The next meeting of the DONES Steering Committee will be held in the Croatian city of Zadar in March 2024.