• An EU funded fusion power project is turning into a multi-billion nightmare running billions over the original €5 billion 2006 estimates. The actual end costs may never be known as the project is divided amongst seven partners who are under no obligation to divulge them to the central body overseeing the Project.
I should say at the outset that I am not against nuclear fusion per-se, I am simply against multi-billion wastage of your money.
Anyway back to ITER, as the project is known. The project was being voted on in Strasbourg last Friday. MEPs decided to continue pouring funds into the fusion reactor.
When it comes to ITER, the EU should have learned from its mistakes. Let us take Galileo as an example: The project’s original estimates in 2000 were €7 billion for completing the project. In 2010 the costs had tripled to €22 billion. And they continue to climb even further with no real end in sight.
The ITER parallels with Galileo are alarming. Faced with ever increasing costs and growing delays, ITER’s partners can only build a stripped down version of the device by 2018. The first experiments capable of validating fusion for power will not come until the end of 2025 – This is five years later than the date set when the ITER agreement was signed in 2006. I am told that Construction costs are likely to double from the 2006 estimates of €5 billion due to rises in the price of raw materials, problems with the original design, and increases in staffing. The cost of ITER’s operations phase, another €5 billion over 20 years, may also rise.
Because 90% of the project will be managed directly by individual member states we may never know the final costs. The national agencies running the project are under no obligation to tell the central organisation how much they are paying their contractors for each piece of the reactor.
This is not on. Taxpayers deserve to know the cost of ITER seeing as they are ultimately paying for it! Yet the European Parliament keeps approving the financing of a project that will cost Billions over original estimates. This is a disgrace!
ITER, like Galileo and like the EU budget is becoming an absurd joke. But the taxpayers who are left to foot the bill for these projects are not laughing I can assure you. The EU should just scrap it altogether.