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The European Commission has published proposals for the creation of the Joint Undertaking, a new organisation charged with administering the European contribution to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) fusion energy project. The European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy will work with European industry and research organisations to build around half of the high-technology components that make up the ITER project. It will also support other projects to accelerate the development of fusion as a clean and sustainable energy source for the 21st century.aIt will be based in Barcelona and should be up and running by early 2007

The Joint Undertaking's primary task will be to meet Europe's wide-ranging obligations towards ITER, to supply the components for the construction of ITER and to administer the EU's financial contribution to the project, which will mostly come from the Community budget.

The Joint Undertaking will also contribute to the implementation of the Broader Agreement' between the EU and Japan for the two parties to work on a number of joint projects to accelerate the development of fusion energy. These projects, including finalising the design for a materials testing facility and the upgrade of a fusion experiment, will complement ITER by filling possible knowledge gaps. A proposal on the Broader Agreement' will be made by the Commission later this year.

Looking to the longer term, the Joint Undertaking will progressively implement a programme of activities to prepare for the first demonstration fusion power reactors, building on the experience of ITER.

The Joint Undertaking will have a lean managerial structure, respecting accountability and transparency. Its activities will complement the other parts of the integrated European fusion energy research programme carried out in national fusion laboratories in the EU member states and other associated European countries - Bulgaria and Romania, plus Switzerland since 1979 - under the Euratom umbrella.

A Governing Board, composed of the members of the Joint Undertaking - Euratom, the EU member states and other associated countries - will ensure overall supervision of its activities. Day-to-day management of the organisation will be the responsibility of its Director. The Joint Undertaking will be able to call on the best possible scientific and technical advice through one or more Scientific Programme Boards.

The Joint Undertaking will pool resources at European level. It will receive contributions from Euratom, its members and other sources. The organisation will have its own financial rules adapted to its special tasks, particularly the procurement of high-tech components from industry ensuring sound financial management.

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Publication:Europe Energy
Date:Sep 13, 2006

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