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Planning a Future Without ITER

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Science  02 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5347, pp. 20-21
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5347.20

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The four partners in the $10 billion International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)--Europe, Japan, Russia, and the United States--will meet next month to discuss a 3-year delay in construction requested by the Japanese, who are believed most likely to host the facility and put up the largest share of the cost. Meanwhile, in a major policy shift, cash-strapped U.S. officials now are calling publicly for exploration of cheaper alternatives, while cracks are appearing in the pro-ITER stance taken by European researchers. The delay and the talk of alternatives stem from technical questions and the immense cost of the reactor, say officials familiar with the program.