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DCU team in €10bn Global Safe Nuclear Energy Project
- 19 May 2006

A team of 33 DCU scientists will take part in a €10 billion global collaboration to make a breakthrough creating safe nuclear energy by fusion, which was announced today in Brussels.

The experimental nuclear fusion power station will be built at Cadarache in the South of France and is the result of an international collaboration involving the European Union (represented by EURATOM) Japan, the People’s Republic of China, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the USA.

Fusion is the energy source of the sun and stars. Fusion research is aimed at demonstrating that this energy source can be used to produce electricity in a safe environmentally benign way, with abundant fuel resources, to meet the needs of a growing world population.

It will remove the dangers of Chernobyl-style explosions in today’s nuclear fission reactors and the creation of dangerous spent fuel that has to be safely stored for centuries, possibly targeted by terrorists and used for atomic bombs.

Ministers from the seven key partners met today at the Berlaymont in Brussels to initial the agreement that will establish the nuclear fusion project, called ITER.

The construction costs of ITER are estimated at five billion euro over 10 years, and another five billion euro are expected to be spent on the 20 year operation period.

Dublin City University is the lead partner in this Irish research with 10 more UCC scientists taking part in the project as well under the auspices of Association Euratom DCU, which was established in 1996. The Association’s annual budget is about €2.5 million with 30 per cent of this funded directly by the European Commission. Further funding is provided by DCU and Science Foundation Ireland.

Prof. John Costello, Chair of the Fusion Steering Committee said “This is a major international development with seven key countries agreeing to cooperate in a project to creating safe nuclear energy which could have profound effects on our way of life on planet earth. Members of the Irish team are looking forward to playing our part in this global effort that could have such beneficial and far-reaching effects on our future.”