USA may rejoin ITER project

3 November 2002

The US Department of Energy's (DoE) Fusion Energy Science Advisory Committee (FESAC) has recommended that the USA rejoin the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project.

The recommendation was made in a letter to the science director of the DoE, Ray Orsbach, in which FESAC said that it endorsed the conclusions of the Burning Plasma Strategy Panel, a specially commissioned body set up to examine three fusion options, including ITER.

The report states that US participation in ITER would have "substantial domestic benefits", and it said: "The desired role is that US participates as a partner in the full range of activities, including full participation in the governance of the project and the programme. We anticipate that this level of effort will likely require additional funding of $100 million per year." The report also recommends that the DoE should negotiate terms that are acceptable to the USA. These could include an agreement on cost-sharing, selection of the site, and a governance plan.

ITER is a joint venture between the EU, Canada, Japan and Russia. The EU, Japan and Canada have all offered to host ITER.

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