EU still hopes to reach international agreement on ITER

Following rumours that the EU may go it
alone, both Council and Commission have been quick to stress
their wish to reach an international agreement on the
location of the ITER site for fusion research.

The Competitiveness Council has reinstated its wish to
come to an agreement with its international partners on
the location of the International Thermonuclear
Experimental Reactor (ITER) research project on nuclear
fusion energy. The EU is competing with Japan to host the
reactor. While Europeans chose Cadarache (France) as the
EU candidate for the site, also favoured by China and
Russia, South Korea and the US are supporting the
Japanese site of Rokkasho-Mura (see 
EURACTIV 28 November 2003


Both the Commission and the Council have been careful
to emphasise the EU’s hope to find a solution in the
negotiations. “Because of the global importance of fusion
research, there is a consensus that international
co-operation should be on the broadest possible basis and
involve as many partners as possible,” read the Council
conclusions. “We think there is still a possibility of
reaching an agreement with the five other partners,”
added a Commission spokesman.

This reassurance comes shortly after rumours that the
EU was considering going it alone should it not gain the
support of its partners. Former Research Commissioner
Philippe Busquin, who has been leading the negotiations,
is said to have warned that the EU could look into the
possibility of launching its own project.

The Competitiveness Council hopes to reach agreement
on the main elements of the future international
agreement on ITER in its session on 25-26 November

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