India’s Department of Atomic Energy has written to the European Commission (EC) to express its interest in joining the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) fusion project.

In a letter to the EC, Anil Kakodkar, chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, calls for a meeting with the Iter partners in order to discuss the possibility of joining Iter as a full partner, in which it would provide a substantial contribution. India already has several fusion research projects underway including experimental tokamak devices like ADITYA and SST 1.

India has long been rumoured to be interested in joining the project, but had been prevented from doing so for over a year because of the siting impasse. Now that issue has been settled, the way should be clear for the country’s participation.

Meanwhile, China has announced that it intends to develop fusion technology on its own, despite already being a member of the Iter project. The country plans to take data from the project to build its own fusion facility.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Plasma Physics is already developing a prototype fusion project, the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, costing $24 million, and scheduled for completion later this year.

Reports from the Xinhua news agency quote an unnamed source saying: “The ultimate goal of Chinese scientists is to build thermonuclear experimental reactors with their own efforts.”