US suspends ITER financial contributions
The US has announced that it is to suspend its financial participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project for one year for domestic budgetary reasons, no
money will be withdrawn from the project, but equipment that the US was to have constructed over the course of the year will be delayed.
The US is expected to contribute 9% of the ?15 billion needed. The EU will contribute the lion’s share, at 46%, while the rest will come from China, India, Japan, Russia and South Korea. The
change in the US’ contributions will not mean an increase in those of the other participants.
‘This is a very worrying situation, but we cannot come to the conclusion that the United States will quit ITER,’ said ITER spokesperson Neil Calder. He added that discussions are continuing
between the US government and its energy department in order to see whether a solution for 2008 can be found.
The US decision followed a reduction in national research spending. ‘The American scientific community was shocked to discover at the end of December that the budget for scientific research
had, instead of being increased as hoped, been cut by USD 400 million,’ Mr Calder told the media.
The long-term objective of ITER is to harness the nuclear energy provided by the fusion of light atoms so as to meet future energy needs. The reactor will be built in Cadarache, southern
Meanwhile on 16 January the ITER Organisation signed a Partnership Agreement with the Principality of Monaco to set up five postdoctoral fellowships and an international conference on
‘It is important to make the public and the principality’s economic actors become aware of the ITER project and the stakes it holds for our planet’s future,’ said Jean Paul Proust, Minister of
the Principality of Monaco.
Under the agreement, Monaco will provide ?5.5 million over a 10 year period, of which ?150,000 will go to scientific conferences, and ?400,000 to postdoctoral fellowships. The fellowships will
enable five young scientists from the ITER participating countries or Monaco to receive training for two years in fusion research.
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