Nuclear Fusion Energy Research (Extract from Background for the Competitiveness Council of 22 Sep)

September 19, 2003

Brussels, 18 Sep 2003

The Council will discuss, on the basis of a progress report presented by the Commission, the state of the process for identifying a European candidate site to host the international nuclear fusion energy research project (ITER)4.

In the previous months, the Commission has undertaken a process, in close cooperation with the Member States which have submitted site proposals, for analysing those proposals on the basis of objective criteria, including cost and other aspects. The Commission has called on the necessary expertise and adopted a time schedule to ensure that the analyses are completed for the end of 2003, the dateline set by all negotiating parties to this project.

At the Competitiveness Council of 12 May 2003, a vast majority of delegations agreed to the Commission's suggestion that European efforts should concentrate on supporting a single candidate site in the international negotiations on the location of ITER.

For the time being, there have been four candidate sites proposed: Cadarache (France), Clarington (Canada), Rokkasho (Japan) and Vandellos (Spain).

The Commission has the intention to submit by the end of 2003 two proposals for decisions, one concerning the international agreement on ITER implementation and the other the structure of the joint undertaking which will be responsible for the European contribution to this project.

  • ITER implementation will include a construction phase lasting about ten years, an operation phase lasting about 20 years and a decommissioning phase,

  • the total cost of the construction phase is estimated at 4 570 million. The total cost of the project, covering the three phases mentioned above and including funds for decommissioning, is estimated at 10 300 million.

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