German government funding for an international nuclear reactor development project is being withdrawn, environment minister Jürgen Trittin announced on Friday. Funds for the independent European pressurised water reactor (EPR) project will be cut this year from euros 0.92m (DM1.8m) to 0.26m, which is intended simply to cover work already contracted and produce a final report. "Because we are ending the use of nuclear power in Germany we no longer need this project," said Mr Trittin. The EPR project was begun in 1989 and a prototype reactor should be built soon, according to European nuclear association Foratom. Funded jointly by MPI, Framatome and Siemens, Foratom secretary-general Wolf Schmidt-Küster said the project had already cost "hundreds of millions of marks" and a similar amount would be invested in the future. In this context, he said, the amount made available by the German government was "insignificant". He predicted that the partly state-owned company GRS, which was carrying out the government-funded work, would find other sources of funding or that the work would be taken up by the French side of the project. "This is another small piece of the mosaic showing how [Mr Trittin] is acting" with regard to the nuclear industry, he said, stressing that the government could do no more to jeopardise the project.
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