Work continues at Iter despite budget problems

15 April 2016

The installation of six water detritiation tanks, part of the water detritiation system at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) under construction at Cadarache in France, has been completed, according to Fusion For Energy (F4E), the organisation administering Europe's contribution to the €15bn (about $16bn) project. F4E said on 14 April that the six large tanks were the first European components to arrive onsite and are the first components of the Iter machine to be installed in the Tokamak complex, where the main systems of the biggest fusion device will be housed.

However, the previous day, the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee recommended postponing granting the 2014 budget discharge of F4E. The proposed postponement would allow for more information to become available on the revised schedule and cost estimate of the Iter project. The total cost of the project has been estimated at €15bn (about $16bn). F4E said the additional information is expected to be decided by the seven Iter parties - Europe, the US, Russia, Japan, China, South Korea and India - in June 2016.

The European Parliament has the final say on approving how EU bodies spend money from the EU budget. In the annual "discharge" procedure, it verifies whether EU funds were spent according to the rules. It may grant, postpone or refuse to grant a discharge, which is required for the formal closure of institutional accounts. The final decision on the discharge is expected in October 2016 after an assessment of the decisions taken by the Iter parties on the schedule and cost of the project.

F4E said the postponement has no impact on its operations and that it is continuing with the implementation of the procurement procedures as planned, and with the signature of contracts and payments. In November 2015 the Iter Council said the costs of the work involved with an updated long-term schedule and budget would be the subject of an independent review.



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