The European Parliament today voted to approve an agreement between the EP and Council, under which €1.3 billion of the budget overrun for the ITER nuclear fusion project will be funded from the EU budget in 2012-13 (1). The Greens have hit out at the deal and believe no more public funds should be spent on ITER. Speaking after the vote, Green budgetary spokesperson Helga Trüpel said:
“The EP has today rubberstamped, what is, a bad deal for European taxpayers. Nuclear fusion is a technology that will not be commercially-viable before 2050, if at all. Instead of wasting more public funds on the runaway ITER budget, the EU should pull the plug and focus on funding safe and sustainable energy technologies that can deliver a return in the short-term, like efficiency and renewables.
“Under this deal, ITER will remain a ticking budgetary time bomb, with a decision on how the €360 million should be funded under the 2013 budget having been postponed. There is a real risk that Council will again push for this funding to be included under the EU's research budget, which would come at the expense of green technologies like renewables and energy efficiency. The Greens believe that no more public funding should be wasted on this project.”
(1) Under the deal, the additional €1.3 billion in overrun funding costs for ITER will be funded from the EU budgets in 2012 and 2013. €100 million is already planned in the 2012 budget, with a further €840 million to come from unspent EU funds from 2011. The extra €360 million will be financed under the 2013 budget, with a decision on the exact budget heading under which the funds should come to be taken as part of the budget negotiations next year.