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EU deal cuts ITER €1.2-billion deficit by €840 million, spares research budget

After more than a year of deadlock, representatives of the European Commission, EU member states, and the European Parliament yesterday agreed on a deal that slashes €840 million (US$1.1 billion) from the €1.2-billion deficit in the 2012-2013 budget of ITER, the EU-led international effort to build a fusion-energy test reactor. The deficit arose from repeated cost overruns — in 2006, ITER was projected to cost €5 billion, but that sum has now grown to €15 billion. The new deal comes in the nick of time: had the deficit not been made up for by the end of the year, construction of the reactor site in Cadarache, France, would have faced significant delays — see my piece about this, ““, which was published in Nature earlier this week.

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