News & CommentFusion

France, Germany Drop Out of ITER Race

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  26 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5274, pp. 422-423
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5274.422


A surprise announcement last week that France and Germany will not be competing to host a multibillion-dollar fusion facility makes Japan the odds-on favorite as the site for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)—if it is built. Six nations were originally in the running as host for the reactor, a tokamak-shaped containment vessel that would demonstrate the feasibility of creating large amounts of electrical power. The catch is that the host country must pick up the biggest single share of the costs, which are expected to top $8 billion during a decade of construction. Japanese government and business leaders have said they are willing to put up as much of 70% of the cost, and that the time is long overdue for Asia to be the site of a major research facility.