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Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy

A Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy has been established in order to promote scientific research and technological development in the field of fusion.

ACT

Council Decision 2007/198/Euratom of 27 March 2007 establishing a Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy and conferring advantages upon it.

SUMMARY

This Decision establishes a Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for a period of 35 years starting on 19 April 2007. It has its seat in Barcelona in Spain.

The members of the Joint Undertaking are Euratom, represented by the Commission, the Member States of the European Union (EU), and certain third countries which have concluded cooperation agreements with Euratom in the field of controlled nuclear fusion. At the time of establishment of the Joint Undertaking, the third country in question is Switzerland.

The objectives of the Joint Undertaking are to provide Euratom's contribution to the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization and to "Broader Approach" activities with Japan for the rapid realisation of fusion energy, and to prepare and co-ordinate a programme of activities in preparation for the construction of a demonstration fusion reactor (DEMO) and related facilities including the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF).

In addition to its other activities, the main tasks of the Joint Undertaking are to oversee the preparation of the site for the ITER project, to provide the ITER Organization with material, financial and human resources, to co-ordinate scientific and technological research and development activities in the field of fusion, and to act as an interface with the ITER Organization.

The total financial resources required for the Joint Undertaking are estimated to amount to 9 653 million euros, with a contribution from Euratom of 7 649 million euros (subject to a maximum of 15 % for administrative costs).

The Joint Undertaking has legal personality. Its organs are:

  • the Governing Board, consisting of two persons per member of the Joint Undertaking and assisted by the Executive Committee;
  • the Director, who is responsible for representing the Joint Undertaking and seeing to the day-to-day running of the Organization, including signing contracts.

The contractual liability of the Joint Undertaking is governed by the contract in question and the law applicable to it. The Court of Justice has jurisdiction to give judgment pursuant to any arbitration clause contained in such contract.

Furthermore, the Joint Undertaking will incur non-contractual liability, in accordance with the general principles common to the laws of the Member States, in respect of any damage caused by itself or its servants in the performance of their duties. The Court of Justice has jurisdiction in any dispute relating to compensation for such damage. In addition, the Court of Justice has jurisdiction to rule on appeals brought against the Joint Undertaking.

Background: ITER

Fusion energy, together with renewable energy sources and fission energy, is one of the three alternatives to fossil fuels. It is by far the most widespread in the universe – it is the source of energy radiated by the sun and other stars – but the least developed on earth of these three non-fossil energy sources.

The JET (Joint European Torus) project, established in 1978, contributed to advanced research in the field of fusion energy for several years. From 1988, the development of the ITER project represented a new stage in the field of fusion which culminated in 2001 in a detailed design for a research facility aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of fusion as an energy source from which the EU could derive significant benefit, in particular in the context of ensuring the security and diversity of its long-term energy supply.

In November 2003, the European Council authorised the Commission to put forward France as the ITER host state and Cadarache as the ITER site and decided that the Domestic Agency for Euratom should be located in Spain.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force - Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2007/198/Euratom

19.4.2007

-

OJ L 90 of 30.3.2007.

RELATED ACTS

Proposal for a Council Decision, of 19 May 2006, concerning the conclusion, by the Commission, of the Agreement on the Establishment of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization for the Joint Implementation of the ITER Project, of the Arrangement on Provisional Application of the Agreement on the Establishment of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization for the Joint Implementation on the ITER Project and of the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization for the Joint Implementation of the ITER Project [COM(2006) 240 final – Official Journal C 184 of 8.8.2006].
The proposal for a decision was adopted by the Council on 25 September 2006. It authorises the Commission to negotiate an agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), China, South Korea, the United States of America, India, Japan and Russia, on the creation of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization for the joint implementation of the ITER project. It also approves the conclusion of a provision on the provisional application of the agreement.

Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management as regards the multiannual financial framework, to address additional financing needs of the ITER project [COM(2010) 403 final – Not published in the Official Journal].In response to the Council conclusions of 12 July 2010 on the short-term additional financing need of the ITER project for commitment appropriations of EUR 1.4 billion (EUR 800 million in 2012 and EUR 600 million in 2013), in current prices, for 2012 and 2013, this Commission proposal aims at providing an amount of EUR 400 million by means of a revision of the multiannual financial framework while keeping the overall ceiling for commitment and payment appropriations over the period 2007-2013 unchanged. At the same time, an additional amount of EUR 460 million will be covered through redeployment from the Seventh Research Framework Programme. The commitment for financing the remaining amount of EUR 540 million shall be secured at a later stage, starting with the budgetary conciliation in November 2010, and then, if need be, the following annual budgetary procedures by using all budgetary means foreseen in the multiannual financial framework.

Communication of 4 May 2010 from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - ITER status and possible way forward [COM(2010) 226 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication notes the need to set out the governance and financial conditions for ITER.
In 2001, the cost of this project had been estimated at EUR 5.9 billion, with the EU contributing 45 % of that amount. The cost to the EU now amounts to EUR 7.2 billion according to the F4E Governing Board (the European Domestic Agency "Fusion For Energy") which met in March 2010. This cost increase has resulted in a financing gap. It is therefore important to improve the governance of the ITER project in order to stop costs getting out of hand, but also in order to define a viable financial framework.
With regard to financing, the Commission therefore envisages two options:

  • implementing complementary financing from Member States;
  • setting financial perspectives ceilings at appropriate level.

The European Commission invites the Council and the European Parliament to adopt a decision appropriate to the current circumstances.

Communication from the Commission of 28 April 2003, entitled: State of progress of the negotiations concerning the ITER international nuclear fusion energy research project [COM(2003) 215 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 26.07.2010
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