International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) (Extracted from Preparation of the Competitiveness Council)

March 3, 2003

Brussels, 28 th February 2003

In anticipation of a full progress report to be presented at the forthcoming Competitiveness Council on 12/13 May, Commissioner Busquin will present the preliminary status of the ongoing negotiations on the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) nuclear fusion energy research project. The People's Republic of China's entry into negotiations marked a significant progress. The Commission also welcomes the USA's return to the negotiating table. They had abandoned ITER in 1998.

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.

Participants will have to identify the ITER site from among the four current candidate sites: Canada, Japan, France and Spain. Further details on the most important questions relating to the ITER Negotiations will appear in a Communication that the Commission will present to the Council at its meeting on 12 May 2003. A consensus on a draft international agreement to fulfil the ITER, including the site and the cost-sharing scheme between partners, is envisaged for the end of 2003.

Extracted from DN: MEMO/03/45 Date: 28/02/2003

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