Brussels, 18 June 2002
Following a bid from Japan to host the international experimental fusion reactor (ITER), EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin has spoken of his hopes that the facility will be constructed in Europe.
ITER is an international fusion energy research and development project aiming to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes. The project consortium will develop the first fusion device to produce thermal energy at the level of a commercial power station.
'It would be very good if ITER was built in Europe and I am glad to see that two Member States, France and Spain, have asked to host this facility,' said Mr Busquin. 'I hope the USA will join the consortium again and help us develop this promising technology,' he added. The USA rejected the project in 1997 as it was considered too expensive.
Following the European Parliament's adoption of reports on the specific programmes for the Sixth Framework programme (FP6) for research and development (R&D), the Commission's investment of 1.23 billion euro in nuclear research between 2002 and 2006 has been secured.
'Safe and clean nuclear energy is a priority for sustainable development: it can greatly contribute to meeting Kyoto Treaty requirements. And there is a clear need for EU action to pool together know-how and resources in state of the art nuclear research at European level,' said Mr Busquin.
Most of the money provided under the Euratom programme (750 million euro) will fund nuclear fusion research, including preparations for the launch of ITER. The Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) will receive 290 million euro, whist 90 million euro will be invested in waste, 50 million in radiation protection and 50 million in other activities, including reactor safety, innovative systems and education and training.