International agreement on ITER signed
The international agreement on ITER was signed on 21 November by the seven countries participating in the project. The signing ceremony was hosted by French President Jacques Chirac and was attended by Philippe Douste-Blazy, Thierry Breton, Gilles de Robien, Catherine Colonna, François Goulard and François Loos.
‘The signature marks the beginning of a new stage in this truly exceptional adventure’, stated Chirac, highlighting the ‘ambitious scientific objectives’ of the project. The purpose of the experimental reactor project is to control thermonuclear fusion with the ultimate goal of providing a virtually inexhaustible energy resource. ITER will be the largest international scientific research programme over the next 30 years.
The broad international scope of the project-Europe, China, South Korea, the United States, India, Japan and Russia are participating-is also unique.
The agreement authorises the start-up of the project, whose budget is estimated at €10 billion over 30 years.
Under the programme, the ITER reactor will be built and operated in Cadarache (in France’s Bouches-du-Rhône region), where a team of around a thousand high-level French and European researchers will work.