In 2015, ITER looked to its past and celebrated three important events in its history: the 30th anniversary of the Reagan-Gorbachev summit meeting in Geneva, in November 1985, when the decision was taken to launch "the widest practical international cooperation" on fusion energy; the 10th anniversary of the unanimous vote in June 2005 in favour of the European site for ITER in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France; and the 5th anniversary of the beginning of construction on the ITER site.
In 2015, ITER also looked to its future by establishing a new way of working, based on a more efficient integration of all the project players—the ITER Organization Central Team, the seven Domestic Agencies, laboratories and institutions—under the stewardship of the new Director-General of the ITER Organization, Bernard Bigot, who took up the reins of the project in March. Eight months of hard work produced the detailed schedule that was submitted to the ITER Council in November—the ultimate Baseline that will lead to First Plasma.
Visible from afar, a spectacular feature was added to the ITER worksite: the steel structure of the Assembly Hall, soon to be clad with mirror-like stainless steel, now stands as a landmark in the Durance River valley.
Below ground level work on the Tokamak Complex progressed steadily throughout the year. Thick walls and sturdy columns have risen at the lowest basement level (B2) and working is starting on the next floor (B1).
In workshops and factories throughout the world, the ITER Members are engaged in manufacturing machine components and plant systems. A steady flow of deliveries is now reaching the ITER site.
The first Highly Exceptional Load reached ITER in January 2015, in the shape a 90-tonne electrical transformer procured by the US. Twelve months later, the first actual machine components—segments of the ITER cryostat procured by India—travelled the ITER Itinerary and are now waiting in the Cryostat Workshop to be welded together.
Thirty years after its inception and five since construction began in earnest, the ITER Project has acquired a tangible and spectacular reality. The "paper project" has turned into an industrial venture that strongly interacts with its economic environment; to this day, more than EUR 7 billion in contracts are ongoing in both construction and manufacturing.