Council reaches a unanimous decision on Europe's ITER candidate site
Cadarache, France, has been selected as Europe's candidate to host the international thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER), following a unanimous decision by European research ministers in the Competitiveness Council on 26 November. Spain's disappointment at failing to secure backing for its candidate in Vandellós will have been somewhat offset by a second unanimous decision to locate the ITER European legal entity in the country. A press release announcing the outcome of the negotiations described the 'intense efforts' made by the Italian Presidency and the Commission to find a consensus, thus avoiding the need for a potentially divisive vote. Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin declared himself 'delighted by the unanimous will of the Council to develop nuclear fusion in Europe. This technology will make it possible for humanity to control the power of the Sun here on Earth. Today, the Sun rose over Europe.' The site at Cadarache will now go forward to the final stage in the process of selecting the ITER site, where it faces competition from the Canadian candidate in Clarington, and Japan's Rokkasho site. The next meeting of international ITER partners is scheduled for 4 December, and a final decision is expected before the end of the year. During the same Council meeting in Brussels, ministers were presented with the Commission's proposals on EU funding for embryonic stem cell research, revised in light of a recent European Parliament opinion. After 'discussing the issue informally over lunch', the Council decided to delay a decision until their next meeting on 3 December.