Open Doors days occur with scientific regularity at ITER (spring and autumn) and yet—due to the rapid evolution of work on site—each event offers something new. Saturday 20 May was no different: the 800 registered visitors were guided in groups of 50 across the Tokamak Building ground-level basemat—something that wouldn't have been possible just a few months ago. Under a perfectly blue Provencal sky, visitors were just a few arms' lengths from the installation arena of the world's most complex scientific instrument and the concrete wall that surrounds it.
Exceptionally, ITER visitors were able to walk out across the L1 level slab (the ground floor) of the Tokamak Building. Only one plot remains to be poured; work is already underway on the L1-level walls.
A second stop on the tour brought participants to the European coil winding facility. A short climb, and visitors had access to the viewer gallery that runs the length of the 257-metre building, where fabrication activities have begun on one of the four poloidal field magnets that will be manufactured on site.
Specialists were on hand throughout the day at each of the tour stops as well as the Visitors Centre to guide first-time (and repeat) visitors through the complexities of fusion science and engineering, the international collaboration behind the project, and current status.
ITER Open Doors days couldn't take place without their participation. In the end, ITER scientists and engineers return home as content as the day's visitors—happy to have shared their corner of the ITER story and, for many, to have experienced how their daily work translates into an awesome steel and concrete reality.