EU research chief presses French ITER case in Japan

11th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

TOKYO, April 11 (AFP) - EU research commissioner Janez Potocnik held talks Monday in Japan aimed at breaking an impasse over which side should host a revolutionary nuclear project known as ITER.

TOKYO, April 11 (AFP) - EU research commissioner Janez Potocnik held talks Monday in Japan aimed at breaking an impasse over which side should host a revolutionary nuclear project known as ITER.

The commissioner met Yasufumi Tanahashi, junior state minister for science and technology, and will hold talks Tuesday with Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Nariaki Nakayama.

Tanahashi said he and Potocnik discussed EU and Japanese science and technology policies as well as the importance of bilateral cooperation in the science field.

Asked about ITER, the minister said all the details would be discussed at Tuesday's meeting between Nakayama and Potocnik.

Talks are deadlocked on whether to choose Japan or France as the host of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a multi-billion-euro project by six countries to create clean, inexhaustible energy.

The United States and South Korea support Japan's offer to build ITER in Rokkasho-mura, a northern village near the Pacific Ocean, while China and Russia back the bid of the southern French town of Cadarache.

The European Union has threatened to go it alone if Japan does not drop its bid. Potocnik's trip to Japan came a week ahead of a European Union ministerial meeting set to take up the issue on April 18.

Proposals have reportedly been made to let either Japan or the European Union be the site of the reactor itself with the other side hosting other key parts of the research.

ITER, which would emulate the sun's nuclear fusion, is designed to one day generate inexhaustible supplies of electricity, but is not expected to be operational before 2050.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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