Brussels, 10 Nov 2004
The latest in a series of meetings aimed at reaching a compromise on the location of the international thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER) ended without agreement on 9 November.
The fusion reactor is set to be the second largest international research project after the international space station, but building the reactor has been delayed for around a year. The impasse has been caused by a division between the six project partners on where the reactor should built - Japan or France.
According to a 'common message' released after the Vienna meeting, 'The two potential host parties, the European Union and Japan, presented the results of recent intensive bilateral discussions on the balance of roles and responsibilities of Host and non-Host in the joint realisation of ITER in the frame of a six-party international cooperation. These discussions will continue in the near future with the aim of aligning the two parties' views.'
The statement added that the meeting took place in a positive atmosphere, and that all parties are optimistic that discussions are now 'proceeding effectively towards a fruitful conclusion among the six parties in the near future.'
There has been speculation that the EU could break away from the those partners hostile to its bid to host the reactor, and go it alone with the assistance of other interested countries. No official statements have, however, been made to this effect. The matter is likely to be discussed at the EU's Competitiveness Council on 25 and 26 November.
ITER's mission would be to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes. To do this, ITER would demonstrate moderate power multiplication, demonstrate essential fusion energy technologies in a system integrating the appropriate physics and technology, and test key elements required to use fusion as a practical energy source.
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