Brussels, 19 November 2009
Commission acknowledges ITER Council's outcome and the steps taken towards a realistic scenario
On 18 th and 19 th of November, the representatives of European Commission attended the fifth ITER Council in Cadarache (France) together with representatives from the six other ITER members: China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States. Progress towards developing a realistic scenario for construction of ITER has been achieved; however, the EU agrees with its international partners that the discussions on the schedule for construction, and in particular on the terms of mitigation of the risks, are still needed. An Updated Scenario, acceptable to all members, is expected to be established by the end of February 2010.
The objective guiding European Union actions is to ensure the sustainable success of ITER project with acceptable risks and at reasonable costs. For this to happen, a number of boundary conditions need to be met: credible cost assessment, acceptable c osts and cost containment measures, realistic time table and sound management of the project at international and national levels.
EU Science and Research Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, stated: “ The EU joins its international partners in acknowledging the progress done so far in particular as regards the manufacturing of ITER components which has begun in all ITER parties. On 16 November, the EU Council confirmed its unanimous support to ITER and set out clear view on the boundary conditions needed to ensure its success. The EU is committed to the success of ITER which has to be based on a realistic planning, acceptable to all parties, that mitigates the risks and associated costs at each step and is executed through sound management at all levels.
ITER Council agreed on the primary importance of achieving Deuterium/Tritium operation, which represents one of the key milestones for ITER, as early as realistically possible. An Updated Schedule is expected by the end of February 2010. Such Schedule will determine an "early date" for first plasma by incorporating risk mitigation approaches and realistic planning of activities for all Domestic Agencies. It will also identify a late-finish date that considers all risks for the each component by consultation with Domestic Agencies and industries.
For the EU, the project will benefit from the identification of additional meaningful milestones, such as the completion of major elements of the buildings or technical items for which the construction is shared among several members. This will help to measure the progress of the work. ITER indeed does not only represent the construction of a complex machine but also an unprecedented international scientific and industrial venture.
ITER Council also considered the recommendations of the Management Assessment Team and set up a working group with the view of taking decisions on how to respond as quickly as possible. The EU looks forward to quick results so that the necessary decisions can be taken as soon as possible.
ITER is an international project of scientific collaboration designed to build an experimental reactor which will reproduce the physical reaction - fusion - that occurs in the sun and stars. ITER aims to do this at a scale and in conditions that will demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion as an energy source for the future.
The agreement between the 7 Parties – Europe (EURATOM), China, US, Japan, Korea, India and Russia – was signed on 26 November 2006 and came into force on 24 October 2007.
Europe's (EURATOM's) contribution is managed by the European Domestic Agency, "Fusion for Energy" established in March 2007.
ITER is part of the EU strategy to address security of energy supply and climate change. It has been identified in the Strategic Energy Technology Plan as one of the long-term key technology milestones to meet the 2050 objectives of reducing CO2 emissions and energy dependency.
For more information:
ITER Organization website:
Link to Fusion for Energy website