The European Union wants to decide on a single candidate site for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) to give it the best chance of being selected as host.
The international agreement to launch the operational phase of ITER, including selection of the site and the cost-sharing arrangements, is due to be concluded by the end of 2003. At the moment the EU has two candidate sites, at Cadarache in France or Vandellòs in Spain, while Canada and Japan have also each offered a site. Meanwhile, a committee of the German parliament is considering a proposal for an area in the east of the country to be recommended as a candidate site for the ITER project. The area suggested was the former Greifswald nuclear power plant, which comprised five VVER-440 units that were closed in 1990.
In a progress report on negotiations, Philippe Busquin, the member of the European Commission (EC) responsible for research, said the EC plans to establish objective criteria covering site preparation and the scientific, technical and social environment.
Particularly important were the political, financial and administrative guarantees that the site and its surroundings can be prepared within the deadlines laid down and that the regulatory authorities will be in a position to issue the necessary permits in good time.