EU and Japan face off in ITER battle

26 July 2004

Reportedly, Japan has offered an additional ¥100 billion (€750 million) to host the international thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER), as European Union (EU) research commissioner Philippe Busquin stepped up the drive for securing success for the European bid to host in Cadarache, France.

A battle over where the €10 billion reator should be built has been raging between Japan and the EU since the end of 2003. “Things haven’t yet gone up in flames, but there is certainly some competition,” said Busquin. Showing some signs of concern and mild desperation, the commissioner appealed to the European press to highlight the initiative. “The media should pass on the idea that Europe is best.”

The Japanese site, at Rokkasho-mura, is backed by South Korea and the USA.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Energy (DoE) announced that the US project office for ITER will be located at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The lab will run the US ITER project office in partnership with DoE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The project office will be responsible for securing technical assistance; procuring and shipping US hardware contributions; arranging for US personnel to work abroad; and liaison on ITER operations among other duties.

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