Feeds

Fusion reactor eats Euro science budgets

Small catastrophe predicted

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More than a billion euros will be channeled to the astronomically over-budget ITER fusion reactor rather than to a broad range of needy European research projects.

"This will not make us friends," one senior fusion boffin, who declined to be identified, confessed to Nature, which reported the research-funding switcheroo.

The ITER project, which has the goal of (someday) fusing hydrogen isotopes to create (possibly affordable) energy, has been beset by budget horrors since its inception in 2006.

According to Nature, the south-of-France reactor was originally projected to cost €5bn (£4.2bn, $6.3bn), a figure that seems laughably understated today. Nature cites "unoffical estimates" that put the true projected cost to be in the neighborhood of €15bn (£12.6bn, $18.9bn).

The most pressing financial need is $1.4bn (£800m, $1.8bn) needed for the 2012-2013 construction budget. That money has to come from somewhere, in the opinion of Achilleas Mitsos, former EC director-general for research. "Europe cannot afford not to go forward with the project," he told Nature, citing heavy political and financial ramifications if ITER is cancelled.

And the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) will come to the rescue, even though the EC has said that diverting FP7 funds would have "a significantly negative effect on a range of policies and programmes".

The EC asked its member states to fork up more cash to help bail out ITER, but in these days of austerity, that was a non-starter. And so it appears that FP7 funds will almost certainly be used to keep the Big Science ITER beast fed.

"I think it's a small catastrophe in the present situation," European Research Council president Helga Nowotny told Nature about the diversion of funds. "It's bad for European research." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.