With a number of next-step fusion devices currently being implemented — such as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in Cadarache, France, and the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in Livermore, USA — and in view of the concomitant need to demonstrate the technological feasibility of fusion power plants as well as the economical viability of this method of energy production, the fusion community is now facing new challenges. The resolution of these challenges will dictate research orientations in the present and coming decades.
The scientific scope of the 24th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2012) is, therefore, intended to reflect the priorities of this new era in fusion energy research. The conference aims to be a platform for sharing the results of research and development efforts in both national and international fusion experiments that have been shaped by these new priorities, and thereby help in pinpointing worldwide advances in fusion theory, experiments, technology, engineering, safety and socio-economics. Furthermore, the conference will also set these results against the backdrop of the requirements for a net energy producing fusion device and a fusion power plant in general, and will thus help in defining the way forward.