Presenting a communication on the construction and operation of ITER to the Competitiveness Council on 13 May in Brussels (Belgium), EU Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin outlined the ongoing negotiations concerning the selection of a candidate site in Europe. Two possible locations, Cadarache in France and Vandellós in Spain have been proposed as potential sites for ITER in Europe. Further sites have been proposed by Japan (Rokkasho-mura) and Canada (Clarington).

EU Competitiveness Council – Presidency Summary

Having heard the views of delegations on the questions of ITER, the Presidency believes that the conclusions, as set out below, are supported by a very large majority of delegations. It notes that the approach on a single site is not shared by one delegation. The Commission is invited to ensure that the final report on this issue is provided as soon as possible so that the Council can achieve agreement on the candidate site in September 2003, and to submit to the Council proposals concerning the joint implementation of ITER by the end of 2003. In relation to the present negotiations on ITER, the Presidency

1. WELCOMES the Commission’s communication State of progress of the negotiations concerning the ITER international nuclear fusion energy research project.

2. NOTES with satisfaction the fact that the United States and China have joined the negotiations and that other countries have expressed interest in the project.

3. UNDERLINES the importance of basing ITER in Europe, if and when a decision on its construction is taken, and stresses that every effort should be made to maximise the possibilities of ensuring that this takes place; and NOTES the need for an accompanying physics and technology programme, to take full advantage of international collaboration.

4. CONSIDERS, therefore, in order to strengthen the Community’s position and to maximise the benefits for the European research activities, that the European candidate site should be identified through a consensual and well defined process.

5. SUPPORTS the Commission’s view that this process should involve the establishment of objective criteria, including cost, it being understood that aspects other than purely technical ones should also be taken into account.

6. EMPHASISES that this process should be undertaken by the Commission in close cooperation with the authorities of the Member States, which have submitted site proposals.

7. RECOGNISES that it is essential in this process to call on the necessary expertise and to adopt a tight time schedule to ensure that the analyses are completed during the summer of 2003.

8. WELCOMES the intention of the Commission to ensure that the final report on this issue is provided as soon as possible, so that the Council can achieve agreement on the European candidate site in September 2003;

9. NOTES the Commission’s intention to submit to it, by the end of 2003, proposals concerning the joint implementation of ITER.

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