The Canadian government has formally made an application to host the ITER international fusion test reactor at a site near Clarington, Ontario. Rod Irwin, the Canadian ambassador to Russia, made the bid in Moscow, in the presence of representatives of other countries involved in the project. The application is being handled by ITER Canada, a non-profit consortium that spans industry, academic institutions and government organisations.

Discussions amongst the project countries will now focus on the Canadian proposals, which could be followed by later bids from France and Japan.

Canada has claimed that its proposed Clarington site provides “the best base, available workforce and raw materials environment for the reactor’s operations.” It is near to Toronto, has shipping links via Lake Huron and has stores of tritium. The Canadian government has also conducted a public opinion poll in the area on the issue, which it says had favourable results. Dr Peter Barnard, chairman of the bid said: “Canada will become a world centre of excellence for research and development in the high tech energy field. ITER will be the largest ‘brain gain’ in Canadian project history.” The European Union, Japan and Russia have agreed to continue research on the international thermonuclear experimental reactor project. They hope to unite their fusion programmes, creating a reactor at a cost of ¤3.7 billion.