Canada submits official bid as site for ITER

First application to provide a site for the fusion test reactor at Clarington, Ontario

June 11, 2001

On behalf of the federal government of Canada the Canadian Ambassador to Russia, Rod Irwin, submitted last week in Moscow an official bid for the ITER International Fusion Test Reactor in the presence of representatives of the ITER partners and the USA.

The large-scale device ITER with an investment volume of about 3.7 billion Euro is now being planned jointly by the fusion programmes of Europe (plus Canada), Japan and Russia. ITER aims at demonstrating that it is technically possible to gain energy by nuclear fusion.

The bid, presented by Ambassador Irwin in Moscow at a ceremony marking the termination of the ITER planning phase at the end of July 2001, is to serve as the basis for detailed negotiations with the ITER partners. Canada expects that talks should be completed by the end of next year with the signing of an international agreement for the funding and construction of ITER. Site offers are also expected, however, from France and Japan.

Canada´s bid did not come as a surprise: About a year ago the "ITER Canada" initiative group, supported by the provincial government of Ontario and numerous companies, trade unions and universities, had already expressed interest in ITER and indicated that a formal bid for a site might follow (see IPP Press Releases 2/00 and 11/00). The Clarington site now proposed to the ITER partners is located 60 kilometres east of Toronto on the northern shore of Lake Ontario. The provincial government and the surrounding communities have, according to ITER Canada, been aware of the ITER project for many years and are in favour of hosting it on their territory. The results of an opinion poll testified to wide public support for the venture. The necessary infrastructure is reported to be largely available, a qualified labour force likewise. As Canadian legislation already allows for fusion devices, permission for ITER can be granted without major amendments to existing law: "We believe ITER Canada is in a very strong position to win this project for our country", explained the chairman of the initiative group, Dr. Peter Barnard: "As host of the ITER project, Canada will become a world centre of excellence for research and development in the high tech energy field. ITER will be the largest "brain gain" in Canadian project history."

Isabella Milch

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