Fusion Power Associates
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October 21, 1998

FPN98-32 Fusion Program Notes


ITER Plans to Move Forward -- With or Without the U. S.

The ITER Council (IC), the international governing body for the International Thermonucear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, announced that "Three Parties (European Union, Japan, and Russian Federation) have confirmed their intention to continue the ITER EDA (Engineering Design Activities) for three years consistent with the princples of the Agreement, each providing resources at the level previously planned." The announcement came at the end of their October 20-21 meeting in Yokohama, Japan. The Council noted that "The US reported that, because of the unavailability of appropriations for its continued ITER participation, it has been necessary to suspend US participation in ITER design work while completing its R&D tasks."

The Council said that "the European Union, Japan and Russian Federations re-affirmed that, in line with the reactor-orientation of their fusion development programmes and the centrality of ITER in these strategies, they remain committed to progress toward possible future decisions on the realization of ITER." The Russian Federation delegation indicated that they "will consider the possibility of proposing a site for ITER construction." Previously, sites have been offered in Canada, Europe and Japan. The Council noted that "The US Delegation restated its wish to see ITER built." ITER Director Robert Aymar told the Council that there was a "need for clear expressions of intent by the participating Parties to move forward toward future construction decisions in order to create a constructive environment for effective continuation of ITER activities."

The US indicated its desire that all ITER personnel now at the ITER Joint Work Site in San Diego, including the Director, vacate the site by the end of January 1999. The Council decided that the Director, Robert Aymar, would relocate to the ITER co-center in Garching, Germany, and that the Deputy Director will be based at the co-center in Naka, Japan. The Council further decided that Dr. Chuyanov, currently at the San Diego site, would assume the leadership of the the Garching co-center, replacing Ronald Parker, who has been recalled to the United States. The chairmanship of the ITER Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), a position that has been held by Paul Rutherford of the US, will now be held by a scientist from Japan. The Council expressed their thanks to Dr. Parker and Dr. Rutherford, to the US members of the Joint Central Team and to the support staff in San Diego.

Director Aymar told the Council that the arrangements proposed and approved by the Council gave him "confidence that it would be possible by July 2001 to deliver the technical output required to support a construction decision as previously foreseen."