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FPN04-18

India Joins ITER Effort

March 25, 2004

India has accepted an offer from the United Kingdom to join the ITER project as part of the European Union's team, according to Indian Science Secretary, V. Ramamurthy, as reported in the science journal Nature (25 March 2004). India was expected to join the ITER effort as a "junior partner" after the other six Parties (EU, Japan, Russia, China South Korea and U.S.) had reached agreement on construction, but decided instead to accept an offer from British Science Advisor David King to join in immediately under British auspices.

Meanwhile, the six ITER Parties continued to be deadlocked on choosing a site for constructing ITER, with three favoring France and three favoring Japan. A technical working group completed its site analysis activities at a meeting March 12-13 in Vienna and a high level group of government officials from France met with officials from Japan in Tokyo March 22-23 without reaching an agreement on how to resolve the site issue.

Opinion is mixed on how or whether the six ITER Parties will reach an agreement on site. Even if the site is chosen, however, legislative bodies in the various countries must still appropriate funds for actual construction before the project can move forward. The Parties still hope to begin construction in 2006, with completion in 2014.