Monday, April 04, 2005

ITER: Chirac seeks deal with Japan to break deadlock on nuclear project

Iter in France, and Japan sub-contractor? Question is :
where will the next generation nuclear project be
geographically mostly needed : Asia or Europe?

Agencies quotes :

French President Jacques Chirac said that the European
Union hoped for an agreement soon to let Japan take part
in a revolutionary nuclear project as both parties
agreed to step up dialogue.

Talks have been deadlocked for months on where to build
the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor
(ITER), with the European Union threatening to go it
alone if Japan does not drop its bid.

"France along with Europe hope for Japan's participation
as part of the international cooperation on ITER,"
Chirac said on a visit to Tokyo.

"I have no doubt that an agreement on this issue can be
found quickly between the European Union and Japan," he
told a seminar on sustainable development organized by
the Nikkei financial press group.

Speaking at the same event, Taizo Nishimuro, chairman of
electronics giant Toshiba, said he heard a deal could be
reached in April.

"I understand that Japan and France will work together
to come to a conclusion in a meeting next month,"
Nishimuro said.

"I know Japanese engineers who can speak the best French
are those in the field of nuclear science. They have
full understanding of the goings on in France," he said.

ITER, which would emulate the sun's nuclear fusion, is
designed to one day generate inexhaustible supplies of
electricity, but is not expected to be operational
before 2050.

The United States and South Korea support Japan's offer
to build ITER in Rokkasho-mura, a northern Japanese
village near the Pacific Ocean, while China and Russia
back the EU bid for the southern French town of

European Union leaders at a March 23 meeting in Brussels
said they would go ahead with construction in Cadarache
and gave Japan until July to agree.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, after talks Sunday
with Chirac, said Japan "has no intention to withdraw
its bid to invite ITER."

A Japanese foreign ministry official said Koizumi and
Chirac agreed in principle for an EU delegation to visit
Japan before April 18, when the Europeans will hold a
new crucial meeting on ITER in Brussels.

"Japan and France have had fruitful cooperation for more
than a quarter century on the peaceful use of nuclear
energy. We want this cooperation to continue, including
through the ITER program," Chirac said in an interview
with the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper published Monday.

Chirac said without further detail that Tokyo had made
"constructive proposals" which would designate a sharing
of responsibilities between the country which hosts the
ITER reactor and the other.

Satoru Ohtake, chief of the Office of Fusion Energy,
which handles the ITER issue at the Japanese science and
technology ministry, said he did not believe Koizumi and
Chirac came "to a new, fresh conclusion per se."

"They have agreed to continue our discussions in search
for an answer. They reiterated that they will take the
path that we have been taking."

"We are still negotiating the issue and we want to come
to a conclusion that is mutually beneficial."

"What the summit did was to reconfirm the method that we
have been taking and to continue the ongoing dialogue."

end of quotes

Also :

Click on the title to access the document on future
strategical F/J partnership on world peace and


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