Europe could keep ITER, warns France

13th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 13 (AFP) - Europe could go it alone on the ITER experimental nuclear fusion reactor project but its hand remains extended to the United States, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said.

PARIS, Jan 13 (AFP) - Europe could go it alone on the ITER experimental nuclear fusion reactor project but its hand remains extended to the United States, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said.

The multi-billion-dollar International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project will be located either in the French southeastern town of Cadarache, chosen as the European Union's bid, or the northern Japanese village of Rokkasho-mura.

Last week US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said, during a visit to Tokyo, that Japan offers "the superior site" for the project.

ITER aims to be a test bed for what is billed as the clean, safe, inexhaustible energy source of the future, emulating the sun's nuclear fusion.

The project, however, is not expected to generate electricity before 2050. Among the project's backers, the EU has won support from China and Russia to site ITER at Cadarache. Japan has the backing of South Korea and now the United States.

The six partners tried to choose the winning bid at a meeting in Washington on December 20, but failed to decide. A fresh meeting has been called for next month to review the results of the current evaluation study.

"The Europeans could do it ourselves, perhaps with Canada," Raffarin told reporters here Monday.

"We are talking, the door is always open to the United States (but) there is a real determination," he added.

© AFP

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