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Defying EU fusion reactors

Published: July 15, 2010; 00:00 · (Vindobona)

According to calculations of the Green Party Federal Councillor Elisabeth Kerschbaum the project costs Austria €158m.

Defying EU fusion reactors / Picture: © Vindobona.org

"These funds would be more efficiently used in research and development of renewable energies," she says.

Besides the nuclear fusion reactor in southern France will not be completed until 2019 and the fusion technology will be commercially usable in 2055 at the earliest. "Far too late for climate and energy issues", she argues.

In a recently formed task force the originally estimated €2.7b project which exploded to €7.2b, will be trimmed down to €6.6b.

In the short term it needs more money. The EU Agriculture Ministers, which do not actually have jurisdiction, decided this week at their meeting in Brussels that the necessary additional € 1.4 billion for 2012 and 2013 will be provided. The money will be subtracted from other areas of the EU budget.

The Science Ministry emphasized that the cost increases for Iter have no impact on national science budget. Iter is fully funded by Euratom and the program again from the EU science budget. This implies that there will be cuts in other EU projects, ie in education, poverty reduction, innovation, research and non-nuclear transport and energy networks. The best arrangement would be an exit according to some members of the European Parliament, even if it costs around €4.5 billion.

Criticism is on the rise on how the recent decision was diverted away from the EU Parliament. The additional funding of €1.4b would be the material for a budget debate at the Parliament. Apparently this decision had to be “on the table” for the next meeting with the non-European ITER partners in July

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