News of the WeekFusion

ITER Cost Estimates Leave Europe Struggling to Find Ways to Pay

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Science  14 May 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5980, pp. 798
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5980.798

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Last week, the European Commission, the executive of the European Union, released a memo announcing that Europe's contribution to building the ITER fusion reactor project (45% of the total) would amount to €7.2 billion, 2.7 times the original estimate. Crucially, E.U. fusion funding up to the end of 2013 is short by €1.4 billion. Senior fusion researchers in Europe who spoke with Science were astonished that the commission proposed no solution to the problem apart from asking E.U. member states for more money. With Europe's wider economy in turmoil, this funding crisis must be resolved before the mid-June ITER council meeting when the other partners expect to give the project's design, cost, and schedule final approval.

  • * With additional reporting by Dennis Normile.