International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) (Extracted from commission press release ahead of the Competitiveness Council of 13 May 2003)

May 13, 2003

Brussels, 12 May 2003

Commissioner Busquin will present the Communication ( COM(2003) 215 final) on the preliminary status of the ongoing negotiations on the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) nuclear fusion energy research project. ITER aims to build a new large-scale experimental reactor producing a high level of energy through the fusion of hydrogen nuclei at very high temperature. This achievement would mean harnessing the "energy source of the stars".

ITER partners include the European Union, Japan, Russia, Canada, the United States and China. The EU participates with a total of €750 million, representing the biggest share of the EU's €1.250 billion EURATOM Framework Programme (2003-2006) budget. The programme should create conditions for the construction of the ITER facility over the next few years. Total costs for ITER construction and operation should amount to €10 billion over 30 years.

Ministers should adopt conclusions underlining in particular the importance of locating ITER in Europe and the fact that the European candidate site should be identified through a consensual and well-defined process. This would allow the Council to achieve agreement on the European candidate site in September 2003. The Commission would then submit to the Council, by the end of 2003, proposals concerning the joint implementation of ITER.

DN: MEMO/03/103 Date: 12/05/2003

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