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MEPs agree financing for EU nuclear fusion programme ITER

December 13, 2011 1:02 PM

The European Parliament today backed a deal to cover a shortfall of €1,300 million in the financing of the EU's flagship nuclear fusion programme, ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor).

The leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament and energy spokesperson, Fiona Hall MEP, who contributed towards finding a compromise between EU Member States, MEPs and the Commission on the deal, commented:

"Finding the necessary funds for the construction of ITER has been an up-hill battle with real threats to other, very successful EU research programmes.

"I am very pleased that it was possible to shift funds from unspent areas of the current 2007-2013 EU spending programme without taking money away from other important research projects. In particular, this is good news for the UK Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, which will now be able to carry on its work until at least 2014, safeguarding almost 200 jobs.

"However, today's deal is only an unsatisfactory short-term solution. Member States and Commission must finally get their act together and come up with a long-term funding plan for ITER after 2014."

The deal includes a total of €840m in commitments to be reallocated in 2012-13 which requires the amendment of the 2007-2013 EU multi-annual financial framework. The rest of the money is supposed to come from an increase of €360m in commitments in the EU's 2013 budget, although it has yet to be agreed from where this amount is to be taken.