UK excluded from EU nuclear fusion bid – but China and Russia rejoiced World | News

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The two countries, currently at odds with NATO and the West, are participating in cutting-edge initiatives to build a nuclear fusion reactor in southern France. The potentially revolutionary reactor is a technological step forward and delivers clean, unlimited nuclear power primarily from seawater. China and Russia will share in the development of the so-called tokamak – which has been called “the most complicated machine ever. built ”- while Britain was excluded from the group because it left the EU.

Today, Tory MP Tobias Ellwood asked why Britain is currently being excluded from the pioneer program and said the situation has worrying parallels to the dispute over the constellation of satellites Galileo, which has seen Britain Brittany excluded from the pan-European project despite an investment of more than £. 1 billion and develop much of the technology.The development of the € 20 billion ITER tokamak, which began in Provence this week, will generate temperatures similar to those of the Sun in what is effectively a massive experiment paving the way for commercial production of fusion-based electricity. .

The project involves a partnership between the EU, China, Russia, the United States, India, Japan and South Korea – but not Great Britain, whose participation depends on ongoing trade negotiations with the EU.

Mr Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East and member of Parliament’s China Research Group, spoke at a time of heightened tensions between China and the West following Beijing’s imposition of a controversial new security law in Hong Kong, and the perception of belligerence over the disputed South China Sea.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has no guarantees the UK will continue to be involved in ITER (Image: GETTY / ITER)

Tobias Ellwood expressed his concerns (Image: GETTY)

I am certainly concerned that Britain’s double standard in a post-Brexit environment is ruled out when China is in the room.

Tobias Ellwood

He told Express.co.uk: “I am certainly concerned that Britain’s double standard in a post-Brexit environment is ruled out when China is in the room. ” It does not mean anything.

“We are a trusted and valued figure, and Europe’s economy and security is something where it should make no difference whether you are an EU member or not.

“It is the reflection of the EU’s petty politics that stands in the way of common sense.

“It has echoes of Galileo’s argument there too, the satellite project, when we were started from that. ”

Assembly of the tokomak, which is expected to take five years, began on Tuesday, with French President Emmanuel Macron delivering a special speech via video link.

He said, “What brings peoples and nations together is stronger than what separates them.

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Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron suggested that “what brings people together is stronger than what separates them” (Image: PA)

“ITER belongs to the spirit of discovery, of ambition. At the heart of conviction, science can really make tomorrow better than today. “

Speaking remotely from China, Luo Delong, the head of the ITER board, congratulated “the entire ITER community – every member, every home agency, every supplier and subcontractor, and every staff member – for their dedication, their perseverance, their commitment and their hard work. ”

He added: “If we manage to continue this way, I have no doubts that we will succeed. ”

The EU, China, Russia, the United States, India, Japan and South Korea were all represented at the social distancing ceremony – but not the UK.

A spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) told Express.co.uk that UK participation in ITER was not yet assured.

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Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron addresses the event (Image: ITER)

Bernard Bigot, Managing Director Iter

Bernard Bigot, Managing Director of Iter during the ceremony (Image: PA)

Speaking remotely from China, Luo Delong, the head of the ITER board, congratulated “the entire ITER community – every member, every home agency, every supplier and subcontractor, and every staff member – for their dedication, their perseverance, their commitment and their hard work. ”

He added: “If we manage to continue this way, I have no doubts that we will succeed. ”

The EU, China, Russia, the United States, India, Japan and South Korea were all represented at the social distancing ceremony – but not the UK.

A spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) told Express.co.uk that UK participation in ITER was not yet assured.

“Even though we will vigorously continue to seek an agreement with the EU, we must face the possibility that an agreement is not reached, and therefore we must continue to prepare all possible scenarios for the end of the transition period. at the end of this year.

Tokomak

The tokomak will be one of the most complex machines ever built (Image: GETTY)

The ITER website was modified on January 31 with a statement which reads: “The UK has officially withdrawn from the European Union and Euratom, but has expressed a strong interest in continuing to participate in the ITER project.

“The terms of this new relationship will be negotiated during the transition period.

“Until a new agreement is reached, the ITER Council has agreed that existing contracts, both with staff and suppliers, will be honored. ”

ITER spokesperson Laban Coblentz told Express.co.uk: “The UK continues to be part of ITER when it comes to our daily work. As with many other aspects of Brexit, the question is how to ensure an ongoing relationship.

“We have received repeated assurances from UK government officials that the UK wants to continue to be a part. The question is how it will be done.

China Russia

The flags of China and Russia were clearly on display – but not the UK’s (Image: ITER)

“Europe is one of the seven members of the ITER project. Europe holds its membership through EURATOM, which includes all EU members as well as Switzerland. One way for the UK to continue to be part of ITER would be to negotiate a membership of EURATOM, This may be the simplest approach, but it’s up to UK and Europe to decide.

“Meanwhile, since Brexit, not much has changed regarding the UK’s involvement in ITER in practical terms. Our “Construction-Management-as-Agent”, the consortium which supports the ITER organization in the management of construction and assembly on the site, is Momentum; and the most important member of Momentum is Wood (formerly Amec Foster Wheeler), a UK company.

“We have a lot of other smaller providers supporting ITER from the UK. We also have a good number of British scientists, engineers and support staff working at ITER. The intention of the ITER Council, our governing body, is to continue to honor these contracts.

“The ITER organization values ​​the UK’s contributions to our project, which are rooted in decades of UK leadership in fusion research and development.

“Finally, at ITER, we continue to have strong research links with our colleagues at the Joint European Torus (JET) in Culham, who also have an international staff and a strong relationship with Europe. “



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