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phone: (301) 258-0545
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FPN04-43

ITER Still Stuck

June 25, 2004

Officials at the vice-ministerial level from the European Union (EU), Japan, China, Korea, Russia and the United States, failed to reach an agreement on where to site the $10 billion International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) at a June 18 meeting in Vienna.

According to news reports, Japan offered to increase its contribution to the construction cost of ITER from 48% to 50% and also to pay half of an estimated $800 million cost for an auxiliary fusion facility to be built in Europe. The European Union representative reportedly matched the offer. The six parties reportedly remain deadlocked, with the EU, China and Russia favoring a site in France and the others favoring a site in Japan.

At the conclusion of the meeting the parties issued the following official statement:

"Common Message from 3rd Preparatory Meeting for ITER Decision Making (IAEA Vienna, 18 June 2004) Delegations from China, European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States met at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna on 18 June 2004 to advance the ITER negotiations. The two potential Host Parties, European Union and Japan, presented their positions, taking account of recent bilateral discussions on a broader approach to realising fusion energy. The parties noted that the contents of these offers were essentially symmetrical and showed a readiness of each of the potential Host Parties to contribute significantly to the realisation of elements of the Broader Approach other than ITER in addition to their contributions to ITER itself. All Parties stressed the urgency of reaching a rapid resolution of the siting issue so as to move forward to implementation of ITER in a framework of international collaboration."

ITER news is posted at http://fire.pppl.gov