The existing regulatory framework in France provides a full and coherent licensing basis to permit ITER to be build and operated at Cadarache. The specific sitting studies including the submission of the first step of licensing documentation for ITER offers an early assessment of fusion power plants. The regulatory procedure begins with the release of a Safety Objectives Report, which has already been sent to the Safety Authorities in the beginning of 2002. This report is presenting a description of the plant, the radioactive inventory and the identification of the main risks and associated safety functions. This document includes a preliminary evaluation of the environmental impact associated with normal operation and representative accidental events. The results of this analysis are given. For example the consequences in term of additional doses are estimated to be about 1 µSv per year for the closest inhabitants around the Cadarache site during normal operation. The licensing of ITER will be the first experience of licensing a major magnetic fusion device on a scale similar to that of a power plant. Thus there are lessons to be learnt and precedents that will be set.