The Ministry of Science and Innovation and Escúzar Town Council sign the agreement for the transfer of land to host the IFMIF-DONES particle accelerator

News - 2022.1.13

The Centre for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research. (CIEMAT), an organisation within the Ministry of Science and Innovation, and the Escúzar Town Council have this Thursday signed the agreement for the transfer of land for the construction project of the 'International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility -Demo Oriented Neutron Source' (IFMIF - DONES) Scientific-Technical Infrastructure in Granada. This international project, for which Spain is the only candidate country, consists of the creation of a large particle accelerator to study the materials that could make up future nuclear fusion reactors.

During the signing ceremony, the Minister for Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, announced that in the second half of the year construction will begin on the Escúzar site of the first buildings and three laboratories associated with IFMIF-DONES, a particle accelerator that would be "the largest international scientific and technological infrastructure in Spain, strategic for the transformation of our country".

The Government has already earmarked 16 million euros of European ERDF funds to advance the construction of general interest buildings and laboratories to support the future IFMIF-DONES facility, the minister explained. Morant detailed that the Ministry of Science and Innovation is already recruiting for these associated laboratories and a new specific training programme in the IFMIF-DONES project, in collaboration with the University of Granada. This programme will allow the recruitment of around 20 pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in Spain and in countries such as Germany, Italy and Japan.

During her speech, Minister Diana Morant highlighted the Spanish Government's commitment to hosting the IFMIF-DONES in Escúzar, a municipality of fewer than 800 inhabitants in Granada. "The Escúzar particle accelerator would contribute to a new model of clean energy, fusion energy, which is produced at the centre of the sun and the stars," Morant underlined.

In addition, the project would create more than 1,000 jobs in Granada alone, 400 of them high-level scientific and technical personnel from all over the world, which would contribute to the revitalisation of the territory and the fight against depopulation.

The estimated construction budget for IFMIF-DONES is 650 million euros, with a further 50 million euros for the start-up phase. In addition, the operating cost is 50 million euros per year for 20 years. The Government of Spain has committed to financing 50% of the construction cost and 10% of the operating costs. Regarding the rest of the project's financing, Morant explained that the Government is already in negotiations, both with the member states of the European Union (EU) and with other countries, to provide the rest of the investment. Spain is currently negotiating contributions from the EU, through the international organisation Fusion For Energy, and from Croatia.

During the event, the minister also thanked the CIEMAT, Escúzar City Council, Granada City Council, the University of Granada, the Provincial Council and the Andalusian Regional Government for their collaboration in promoting IFMIF-DONES. "This is a collaborative project for the benefit of citizens and to promote science, knowledge and innovation, which are levers of transformation that know no borders," said Morant. With the agreement adopted this Thursday, Escúzar City Council cedes a plot of land, of about 100,000 square metres, to the IFMIF-DONES construction project. The technical part of this project is mainly led by CIEMAT, with the participation of the University of Granada.

The event was also attended by the President of the Andalusian Regional Government, Juan Manuel Moreno; the Andalusian Regional Minister for Universities and Economic Transformation, Rogelio Velasco; the Mayor of Escúzar, Antonio Arrabal; the President of the Granada Provincial Council, José Entrena; the Director of IFMIF-DONES Spain, Ángel Ibarra; and the Director of CIEMAT, Carlos Alejaldre.

IFMIF-DONES is part of the EU's ambitious programme to develop fusion as an energy source, in an international collaboration that includes China, South Korea, the United States, India, Japan and Russia as key partners in ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). IFMIF-DONES also constitutes a fundamental pillar for the European objective to build a Fusion Electricity Production Demonstrator Plant (DEMO) by the middle of this century.

Consortium between the Government and the Junta of Andalusia

In May 2020, the creation of a Consortium between the Government of Spain and the Junta de Andalusia, which will manage the Spanish participation in the project, was authorised. In December 2020, the Council of Ministers authorised the signing of the agreement for the creation of the consortium, which provides for funding of 1.5 million euros per year between 2020 and 2023, with 50% being assumed by each administration.

Should the Spanish candidature be successful, this consortium would prolong its existence and would be responsible for providing the support that would correspond to Spain, as host country, to the international body that would be set up for the construction of IFMIF-DONES.

Non official translation