June 28, 2005

France wins bid for nuclear fusion project

MOSCOW (Reuters) - France won its bid to build a10-billion-euro ($12.18 billion) experimental nuclear fusionreactor after more than a year of wrangling with Japan, theproject's multinational partners said on Tuesday.

Ministers from the partner countries signed an agreement ata meeting in Moscow making France the site for the ITERreactor, European Union spokeswoman Antonia Mochan toldReuters.

The ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor)project is backed by China, the EU, Japan, Russia, South Koreaand the United States.

It aims to mimic the way the sun produces energy,potentially providing an inexhaustible source of low-costenergy using seawater as fuel.

Japan and France have battled over where the reactor shouldbe built while other partners have clashed over funding.

The EU, which had supported the French bid, wanted thereactor built in Cadarache, in France. Tokyo had sought to haveit built in the northern Japanese village of Rokkasho.