India’s participation in ITER approved


New Delhi : The cabinet Thursday approved India's participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project that aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power to produce energy.

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India will invest Rs.25 billion, including a foreign exchange component of Rs.11.29 billion, in the project, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters here after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"The Institute for Plasma Research has also been authorised to constitute an empowered board with sufficient powers required for the effective implementation of the project," Dasmunsi added.

"The empowered board will have full financial powers in respect of single, limited and restricted tendering process and administrative powers to the total extent of budgetary sanction and resource allocation for the project," he said.

The board would also have full autonomy for laying down rules, procedures and guidelines for financial, administrative and other matters related to the execution of the project.

India's participation in ITER would allow the country to leapfrog in terms of its national technological capability in fusion energy, Dasmunsi maintained.

"India's joining ITER is a recognition of our scientific and technical capability in fusion energy.

"Considering India's large energy needs in future, our gaining technological capability in fusion energy will be of considerable long-term benefit," the minister stated.

Apart from India, the other ITER partners are the European Union, Japan, China, South Korea, Russia and the US.

ITER will be constructed at Cadarache in the south of France.

Fusion is the energy source of the sun and the stars. On earth, fusion research is aimed at demonstrating that this energy source can be used to produce electricity in a safe and environmentally benign way, with abundant fuel resources, to meet the needs of a growing world population.