mjgp2 writes to mention a BBC article about an agreement which will begin construction on the second most expensive scientific collaboration, after the ISS : the world's first large-scale fusion reactor. From the article: "The seven-party consortium, which includes the European Union, the US, Japan, China, Russia and others, agreed last year to build Iter in Cadarache, in the southern French region of Provence ... He said that the participants would aim to ratify their agreement before the end of the year so construction on the facility could start in 2007. Officials said the experimental reactor would take about eight years to build. The EU is to foot about 50% of the cost to build the experimental reactor. If all goes well with the experimental reactor, officials hope to set up a demonstration power plant at Cadarache by 2040. "