Materials research is key in the development of innovative nuclear reactors, both of fission and fusion type.
Regarding Generation IV fission reactors, the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) Joint Programme on Nuclear Materials (JPNM) was launched in 2010 to provide the R&D for materials needed for the developmentand implementation of fast reactors in Europe,
as defined by the European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative (ESNII). One of the grand challenges included in the EERA JPNM Vision Report is related to the understanding, modelling, prediction and verification of the degradation of materials properties
that are induced by microstructural evolution under irradiation, especially when operational experience is limited or does not exist at all. In particular, the EERA JPNM sub-programmme 4 is devoted to the development of physical models and corresponding computational
tools to support the fundamental understanding on the material behaviour under fast reactor operation.
On the other hand, the latest EU Fusion Roadmap includes inter alia the ‘Materials Mission’ to develop nuclear structural materials for DEMO’s in-vessel components, especially the Breeding Blankets and Divertor. This part of the fusion roadmap is based on the report with recommendation on R&D issues published6 by a Materials Assessment Group’ (MAG) that was established to assess the needs for structural, plasma-facing and high-heatflux materials for DEMO. The development of high-level integrated models for radiation effects was identified to be one of the most cost-effective and not yet fully exploited ways of advancing the scientific knowledge of materials for the fusion power generation technology, given that no fusion neutron source is going to be available until well-beyond 2020, whereas computer resources are already available and likely to continue to grow. This is the goal of the WPMAT-IREMEV (Irradiation Effects Modelling and Experimental Validation) research program of EUROFusion.