EU will go it alone on nuclear projectif French site bid fails

9th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Nov 9 (AFP) - The European Union said Tuesday it was prepared to forge ahead with a revolutionary nuclear energy project if negotiations with Japan and other backers on where to locate it break down.

BRUSSELS, Nov 9 (AFP) - The European Union said Tuesday it was prepared to forge ahead with a revolutionary nuclear energy project if negotiations with Japan and other backers on where to locate it break down.

But the EU's executive arm reiterated its hope that all partners in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) would decide at the talks in Vienna to choose a site in France rather than Japan.

"Our basis for negotiations is to locate ITER at Cadarache and we hope to achieve that. We hope to get a result, if possible a positive one, this evening," European Commission spokesman Fabio Fabbi told reporters.

But if the discussions in Vienna break down, "the alternative is to go ahead (at Cadarache) with the maximum number of partners", he said.

The two candidates to host ITER are Cadarache in southern France and Rokkasho-mura in northern Japan.

Japan is adamant that it still wants to host the ITER project, questioning the EU's optimism that France will be chosen by the project's backers.

Officials from the EU commission and Japan met to discuss the ITER site at the International Atomic Energy Agency in the Austrian capital on Monday.

Another meeting was being held in Vienna on Tuesday bringing in the other ITER project partners: the United States and South Korea - which support the Japanese bid - plus Russia and China, which back the EU bid.

ITER is a test bed for what is being billed as a clean, safe, inexhaustible energy source of the future. The project, emulating the sun's nuclear fusion, is not expected to generate electricity before 2050.

The ITER budget is projected to be EUR 10 billion (USD 13 billion) over the next 30 years, including EUR 4.7 billion to build the reactor.

The EU plans to finance 40 percent of the total.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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