Azara Blog: France gets ITER nuclear fusion site

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Date published: 2005/06/28

The BBC says:

France will get to host the project to build a 10bn-euro ($12bn) nuclear fusion reactor, in the face of strong competition from Japan.

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) will be the most expensive joint scientific project after the International Space Station.

The Iter programme was held up for over 18 months as parties tried to broker a deal between the two rivals.

Nuclear fusion taps energy from reactions like those that heat the Sun.

Nuclear fusion is seen as a cleaner approach to power production than nuclear fission and fossil fuels.

Officials from a six-party consortium signed the deal in Moscow on Tuesday, for the reactor's location in the Cadarache site in southern France.

The European Union, the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea and China are partners in the project.

Japan earlier withdrew its bid, after a deal was worked out for the "runner-up" to receive a generous concessions package.

According to the package, Japan will get 20% of the project's 200 research posts while providing only 10% of the expenses, and host a related materials research facility - of which half the construction costs will be shouldered by the EU.

Too bad it was all so bitter but it's good news for Europe that it ended up in France. The other partners all put in 10% but Japan was given the special deal, which hopefully will not sour things.

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