Fusion in France

An agreement to build the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in France marks the end of months of heated debate on the subject.


An agreement to build the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in France marks the end of months of heated debate on the subject between the project’s supporting member countries.


Two alternative sites were originally proposed for the reactor – Cadarache in France and Rokkasho-mura in Japan. But while the US and South Korea preferred the Japanese location, Russia and China supported the idea of building it in France.


But today in Moscow, representatives from the EU, Russia, China, the US, Japan and South Korea announced that the French had the deal sewn up. And the Cadarache site, already home to the world’s largest super-conducting fusion experiment – Tore-Supra at the CEA Cadarache Research Centre – was officially chosen as the preferred location for the 5 billion Euro fusion reactor.


Construction of the nuclear reactor could now begin by the end of 2005. The EU and France will contribute 50% to the cost of it, whilst the other five countries involved will each cough up 10%.