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    ITER SITE DECISION TO BE TAKEN SOON - RUSSIA'S ATOMIC ENERGY MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, January 29, 2004. /RIA Novosti /. Russia's Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev hopes that a decision to name a site for building an international thermonuclear experimental reactor, or ITER, will follow shortly.

    "Two venues are being discussed now, one in France, the other in Japan," he told journalists on Thursday.

    The discussions, according to him, "have reached final stages".

    Russia at the moment prefers the French option, since its infrastructure is "better developed". But, the minister noted, it is too soon to speak of Russia's final position.

    It had been earlier reported that the building site may be announced on February 20-21 at a meeting of nuclear ministers of Russia, the European Union, the US, Japan, China and South Korea in Vienna.

    The international project for peaceful fusion energy envisages the first thermonuclear installation generating heat as an industrial power plant. It is going to cost 4 billion dollars.

    The ITER detail design was completed in July 2001. Its aim is to build a fundamentally new source of energy with practically boundless fuel resources and ecologically clean. The project is one of the priorities in Russia and enjoys federal status.

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