The objective of the Next European Torus (NET) is to demonstrate fusion energy production in an apparatus that meets the basic design and operating requirements of a reactor: 1. self-sustained deuterium-tritium thermonuclear reaction (ignition) 2. extended burn up to steady state 3. qualification and testing of components in reactor-like conditions 4. safe operation of a reactor-like device at significant availability 5. energy extraction at high grade and tritium breeding. The NET project guidelines as derived from the Fusion European Strategy are as follows: 1. to allow for a wide range of plasma parameters and minimize complexity, particularly for the first phase of physics investigation 2. to adopt, where possible and convenient, reactor-relevant technologies 3. to allow for improvements during operation, in particular for in-vessel components. Significant extrapolations from the Joint European Torus are anticipated. Therefore, the first phase of operation will have all the features of a “physics machine” for scientific feasibility demonstration, but have the potential and capability for technology feasibility demonstration. The selection of NET parameters has been guided by the following requirements: 1. to achieve ignition under a variety of assumptions on plasma confinement and operational limits. On this basis, a plasma current of ∼ 15 MA was chosen. 2. to accommodate various plasma shapes 3. to inductively drive the plasma current for a time much longer than particle confinement times (i.e., >100 s) 4. to perform engineering tests on representative blanket sectors. This leads to constraints on the neutron wall loading (≧0.5 MW/m2), on the inductive burn pulse duration (≧200 s), on the off-burn time (≦70s), and on the integral burn time of the device (≈ 7000 h). 5. to allow long burn up to steady-state operation, if achievable, with external heating powers not exceeding 100 MW, for engineering tests. NET is presently in the predesign phase. In 1990, a decision will be sought to expand the activity into a detailed design phase. Construction will begin as soon as the physics data base is adequate, anticipated to be 1994. Therefore, the technologies and design solutions must be proven feasible and reliable by that date. The machine should be completed by the year 2000.