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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Remembering Bernard Bigot, ITER Director-General 2015-2022

    On the ITER site, the machinery of construction was humming just like on any weekday. Workers were concentrating on their tasks, laying rebar for new buildings [...]

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  • Tokamak assembly | Preparing for the Big Lift

    The distance was short but the challenge daunting: on Thursday last week, the first section of the plasma chamber was lifted 50 centimetres above its suppor [...]

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  • Image of the week | 13th toroidal field coil arrives from Europe

    The toroidal field coil procurement effort has been one of the longest of the ITER program, initiated by Procurement Arrangements signed in 2007 and 2008. Manuf [...]

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  • Diagnostics | Final Procurement Arrangement signed

    ITER Diagnostics reached an important milestone in December 2021 when it concluded the last Procurement Arrangement of the diagnostics program. After signing a [...]

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  • On site | A quick visit to the Control Building

    Work is progressing on the ITER Control Building, ergonomically designed for the 60 to 80 operators, engineers and researchers who will call it home.  [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Brexit

What should ITER expect?

After nearly four years of deliberation, Brexit became a reality at midnight on 31 January 2020. Given that the United Kingdom is one of the 35 countries participating in the ITER Project, many are asking: what does Brexit mean for ITER?

 (Click to view larger version...)
The answer is complex. No European Union Member State is currently a direct Party to the ITER Agreement; the official contracting Party is Euratom the (European Atomic Energy Community), represented on the ITER Council by the European Commission.

In withdrawing from the European Union, the United Kingdom has also withdrawn from Euratom. This means that, as with many other aspects of the UK-EU relationship, an 11-month period of transition has now begun, with the objective that both parties use this time to agree on a deal about their future relationship.

UK officials have made clear for many months that they would like to remain part of the ITER Project. For decades, the UK has been a leader in the global fusion research community. And perhaps more than any other field of advanced science and technology, research on magnetic confinement fusion energy has been a globally collaborative effort. One needs only to consider ITER's seven Members—China, Europe, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the United States—to understand that fusion energy research transcends national boundaries, political differences, and traditional alliances. The dream of fusion energy, from the inception of ITER, has been "for the benefit of all mankind."

The question is how—what is the preferred mechanism for the UK to remain part of ITER? During the coming transition period, UK and EU officials will consider many aspects of the UK-EU relationship. Depending on those negotiations, the UK could seek to define a new relationship with Euratom, or the UK could seek to establish a different form of legal arrangement with ITER upon approval by the EU and other ITER Members.

For the immediate future, the guiding principle is to ensure stability in the best interest of ITER Project progress. The ITER Council has agreed that existing contracts, both with individuals (ITER Organization and ITER Project Associate staff) or suppliers, will be honoured. And, as Director-General Bigot has frequently stated, the longer-term hope is that the UK will remain in the project. The ITER Organization will be ready to support any such arrangement when the parties concerned have determined a way forward.


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