Union European-Japan Cadarache or Rokkasho, the dissension persists on
the place of the future experimental engine of nuclear fusion

The dispute on Iter comes to disturb the node euro-japonais

Irish the Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, and European Commission,
Romano Prodi chair it, take part today in Tokyo at a node between
Japan and the European Union. Their discussions with Japanese the
Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, relate in particular on the
economic relations between the EU and Japan, but also to the large
international files like the fight against terrorism, the situation to
Korea and in the Middle East. The dispute euro-japonais in connection
with the site of the future experimental engine of nuclear fusion Iter
weighs on this annual node between the two parts.

It misses especially which one notices with the menu of the
discussions of the thirteenth node European Japan-Union which takes
place in Tokyo today: the future experimental engine of nuclear fusion

Since months, the six nations forming part of this international
project are with knives drawn on the question from its site. On a side
the European Union, supported by Russia and China, pushes the
candidature of the French site of Cadarache, historical cradle of
nuclear fusion. Other, Japan, supported by the United States and South
Korea, militates so that the small village of Rokkasho, in the north
of the country, accomodates Iter.

It is already in this peaceful hamlet of 12 000 inhabitants, lost at
the bottom of a valley of the prefecture of Aomori, that Japan
installed JNFL, the organization in charge of the management of the
radioactive waste.

Friday, in Vienna, the participating nations could only once again
note their dissension on Iter, and deferred their decision, as they
have now regularly done it for six months. The two parts seem as given
one as the other, and each one aligns its positions on those of the
adversary. A compromise solution, which consists in entrusting the
engine to a country and to offer to the loser, as "a consolation
prize", a center of study on materials, is proposed and pushed back
alternatively by Tokyo and Brussels, which, both, "want" the engine.

Japan and France are of old partners in the nuclear field. The French
company Cogema is present on the whole of the cycle of Japanese
nuclear fuel, of natural uranium to the reprocessing while passing by
enrichment. The fuel reprocessing plant operated by JNFL with
Rokkasho, with a few kilometers of the site reserved for Iter, was
designed on the model of the French factory of La Hague.

Then how did one arrive from there at such a blocking? It is that the
question imperceptibly slipped of the scientific field to the
political field. "the Japanese never accomodated great scientific
experimental project. The European Union has the CERN, the United
States had the space conquest... Japan wants Iter ", explains a
European diplomat. With this question of international row, concerns
of regional planning are added. The promotional vid?os, the booklets
on glazed paper which praise the area of Aomori present a cosmopolitan
and active landscape, with the modern infrastructures, where English
is usually spoken.

Actually, this part of Japan remains to be disenclosed. Admittedly
there is a "international airport" with Aomori, but it serves only
Khabakhovsk. Admittedly there is Mutsu-Ogawara, a "important port",
but which takes delivery of only oil, stored in the very close
national reserves, and of uranium bound for JNFL. Iter would occupy
the area at least during the fifty next years, minimal period
estimated by the scientists before the practical application of the
technology of nuclear fusion. To have an idea of the financial
repercussions of the project, it is enough to visit the imposing arts
centre of Rokkasho, beautiful like a white elephant, inherited
building site JNFL...

The Japanese think of adapting the Iter project and of
continuing it with their only partners American and South Korean. "But
if they dare to do that, they are cut of all the European expertise in
this field, which is capital. The European merge program represents
half of the world merge program, and the double of the Japanese
program ", informs a diplomat specialist in the nuclear questions.