Brussels, 20th July 2010
Commission proposes plan for financing ITER
The Commission has adopted a proposal for funding the construction of the fusion demonstration reactor ITER. This proposal responds to the conclusions of the Council of 12 July 2010 and aims to secure the financing of this international project as it goes forward. The Commission proposes redeployment of €100 million in 2012 and €360 million in 2013 from the 7th Framework Programme for Research. It is also proposing today an initial transfer of unused funds of €400 million from other EU budgets to the budget financing ITER. A further such transfer will be specified later, with that process beginning in the context of the budgetary conciliation in November. The revision has been necessary because of substantial overall cost increases for ITER, which have more than doubled the costs for Europe from the initially expected € 2.7 billion.
Commissioners Lewandowski and Geoghegan-Quinn said: "ITER can provide a safe, clean and inexhaustible source of energy for the future. This is an immense prize – especially when you consider that the EU had a trade deficit in energy of nearly 400 billion euros in 2008. The EU needs to show the vision and the resolve beyond the immediate financing difficulties and meet its international commitment to this project. What we are proposing today is a balanced solution which we believe can meet the aspirations of both Council and Parliament, while also remaining consistent with the Europe 2020 goals, which give a top priority to maintaining and increasing investment in research and innovation."
In its conclusions of 12 July 2010, the Council underlined its strong commitment to the successful completion of ITER and endorsed the project's estimated financing needs.
The Council mandated the Commission to adopt the baseline for the construction of ITER – schedule, scope and costs – based on an EU contribution, mostly in kind, of €6.6 billion from 2007-2020.
It called for strong cost containment measures to deliver the necessary contribution within this lower budget, as opposed to the €7.2 billion originally estimated by Fusion for Energy (F4E) the EU agency managing the EU's role in the project. It also endorsed the specific additional financing needs of €1.4 billion for 2012-2013.
The Commission proposes to cover this amount of €1.4 billion with unused funds from the EU budgetand redeployment of €460 million from the 7th Framework Programme for Research
The European Parliament and the Council will now both have to agree on the proposal amending the current multiannual financial framework 2007-2013.
The Commission is now in a position to support "ad referendum" (subject to later agreement of the budgetary authority) the adoption of ITER Baseline at the extraordinary ITER Council meeting on 27-28 July in Cadarache.
ITER is an experimental reactor which will reproduce the physical reaction - fusion - that occurs in the sun and stars. It is an international collaborative project (EU, US, China, Japan, India Russia, South Korea) to demonstrate the potential of nuclear fusion as an energy source. It is one of the world's most ambitious research endeavours. Its results could dramatically change the world's energy landscape opening the way to a safe, affordable, inexhaustible and CO2-free source of energy. The European Union wants to ensure the success of the project at acceptable cost and with reasonable financial and technical risks.
For more details of the project see MEMO/10/165
The full text of the Communication will be available at: