ITER Is Heating up the French Economy
A large project like ITER can only generate an economic benefit if the host territory is prepared to welcome it and make the effort to meet its specific needs. This was well understood by the French government. However, some political intentions failed to be implemented (as shown in this chapter). The available data confirm that ITER is indeed boosting the host region’s economic development. Private employment was very dynamic in this area after 2008, the first year of the financial crisis, whereas it was subject to a sudden slowdown everywhere else. Since 2007 the ITER Organization, Fusion for Energy, and Agence ITER France have awarded contracts worth a total of EUR5.7 billion. Over half of this has been awarded to French companies (contracts worth EUR3.2 billion). This is not really a surprise because major scientific installations like ITER create jobs directly and indirectly. They also stimulate employment in the local economic system. The examples of JET in Culham (United Kingdom), CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva (Switzerland), and ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) in Grenoble (France) have shown that constructing a very large facility has a positive and lasting impact on its surroundings. All these projects have been found to stimulate local development and attract new talent to the area. In their immediate neighborhoods they stimulate new social, industrial, economic, technological, and cultural dynamics. They also create synergies and boost new initiatives and structures such as high-tech startups, laboratories, and service providers. Economic models for the period 2018–2030 predict that ITER should generate EUR15.9 billion in gross value added. Over the same period 72,400 job-years should be created, mainly in the business services and industry sectors.
KeywordsITER Economy Jobs Employment Host region Contracts Value
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