Early on Monday 8 February over 500 actors from the worlds of energy, high technology, fusion and industry gathered in Monaco, the "little kingdom by the sea" that has used its privileged location on the Mediterranean to become an outspoken defender of environmental causes including marine conservation, pollution control and environmental sustainability.
HSH Prince Albert II and ITER Director-General Bigot stop by the ITER display as they tour the 34 stands and industrial exhibits set up in the Grimaldi Forum, where the third Monaco-ITER International Fusion Energy Days are being held from 8 to 11 February in conjunction with the ITER Business Forum IBF/2016.
Little wonder, then, that Monaco has been a staunch supporter of ITER from the start, signing a Partnership Arrangement in 2008 with the ITER Organization to establish five Postdoctoral Fellowships in fusion technology and science at ITER and to provide the means for a regular international conference on ITER progress, research and industrial opportunities.
Following editions in 2010 and 2013, the third Monaco-ITER International Fusion Energy Days has combined this year with the ITER Business Forum (IBF/2016) to offer a four-day program that focuses on informing industry about the challenges of ITER components and systems and the business opportunities ahead.
"We have come a long way since the project began to take shape thirty years ago," said ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot in his opening address. "We are now well past the research and design phases ... the 'paper project' has turned into a steel and concrete reality. The industrial phase that we have now entered holds the key to our success. All of you, present or future industrial partners, hold the key to our success..."
Detailed sessions are planned on all of the major ITER systems and works, including machine assembly, magnets, heating and current drive systems, the fuel cycle, and diagnostics. "To manufacture for ITER, you are often standing at the cutting edge of what is technologically—and industrially—feasible," stressed the ITER director. "But the benefits are many and they reach beyond ITER. The sophisticated production that the project requires presents tremendous opportunities for industry in a wider sense. By driving technological development, ITER contributes to enlarging the strategic capabilities of the companies involved."
In break-out sessions called B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-customer) meetings, the 578 participants from 283 companies will be seeking to pool their expertise and form collaborations in order to participate in the competitive international tenders launched by the ITER Organization or the Members' procurement agencies, the Domestic Agencies. Companies already involved in manufacturing for the ITER Project will be sharing their experience and advice. Optional excursions are offered to the ITER site, or to one of the industrial facilities (Toulon, France or Camerana, Italy) currently manufacturing components for ITER's toroidal field coils.
As he officially opened the third Monaco-ITER International Fusion Energy Days, HSH Prince Albert II wished all participants success in their endeavours. "Your meetings and discussions over the next days and the initiatives you are involved in will continue to develop and grow. You know that in Latin ITER means 'path' or 'way.'" And you know that Winston Churchill said 'Where there's a will there's a way.' You have The Way and we have the will, and so it is with great pride that I stand at your side for one of the most ambitious projects in the energy sector which is striving for better conservation of our world."