Janez Potočnik, EU Commissioner responsible for Science and Research

On the 22nd of August, the Commission published proposals for the creation of a Joint Undertaking to provide the European contribution to the ITER international fusion energy project. The European Joint Undertaking for ITER & the Development of Fusion Energy will work with European industry and research organisations to build around half of the hightechnology components that make up the ITER fusion project. It will also support other projects to accelerate the development of fusion as a clean and sustainable energy source for the 21st century. The Joint Undertaking will be based in Barcelona and should be up and running by the first half of 2007.

“Building upon the success of the integrated Euratom fusion research programme, the Joint Undertaking will be a dynamic new organisation that will play a leading role in the construction of ITER and enhance Europe´s role in the technological development of fusion energy” Commissioner Potočnik said today.

The Joint Undertaking´s primary task will be to meet Europe´s wide-ranging obligations towards ITER, by working with European industry and research organisations to supply the components for the construction of ITER and will administer the EU´s financial contribution to the project, which will mostly come from the Community budget.

The Joint Undertaking will also contribute to the implementation of the “Broader Approach”, an agreement between the EU and Japan conceived to work on a number of joint projects to accelerate the development of fusion energy. These projects, including finalising the design for a materials testing facility and the upgrade of a fusion experiment, will complement ITER by filling possible knowledge gaps. A proposal on the “Broader Approach” will be made by the Commission later this year.

Looking to the longer term, the Joint Undertaking will progressively implement a programme of activities to prepare for the first demonstration fusion power reactors, building on the experience of ITER.