November 19, 2007
The White House today announced that President Bush has issued an Executive Order designating the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization as a public international organization. For the purposes of the International Organizations Immunities Act of 1945 (IOIA), this fulfills U.S. commitments regarding this important international research program and will enable ITER to enjoy limited privileges, exemptions, and immunities under U.S. law.
The President's Executive Order clears the way for Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Under Secretary for Science, to join counterparts from China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation at the organization's first meeting of the ITER Council in Cadarache, France, on November 27-28, 2007.
Dr. Orbach represented the United States last November in Paris to sign an agreement to establish the ITER organization to carry out this major international fusion energy research project. At that time, Dr. Orbach said that “ITER is the first stand alone, truly international, large-scale scientific research effort in the history of the world. It will surely serve as a model for future collaborative large scale science projects." Fusion energy is an important component of President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI), given fusion’s potential to become an attractive long-range option for the U.S. clean energy portfolio.
President Bush announced on January 30, 2003, that the U.S. was joining the negotiations for the construction and operation of this major international research project, whose mission is to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of clean fusion energy. The President’s initiative in joining ITER allows the United States to share the combined experience and knowledge that will result from the design, construction and operation of this vital project at a greatly reduced cost to the individual partners.
ITER will be constructed at Cadarache, France and is expected to be completed in 2015. The site is adjacent to the main research center of the French Atomic Energy Commission. The EU, as the host, will provide 45.46 percent of the construction phase funding. The U.S., as a non-host partner, will participate in the construction phase at the level of 9.09 percent. The U.S. contribution to ITER will consist of about 80 percent in-kind components, and about 20 percent in cash to a central fund and for personnel assigned to the project at the ITER site. DOE laboratories will subcontract with industry to build the components of ITER for which the U.S. is responsible.