The ITER Awards
Achievement in a year of challenge
On Tuesday 8 December, ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot hosted a celebration to pay tribute to the dedication and achievements of ITER staff, contractors, and partners, as well as to the partners and family members who provide constant support. This year's celebration was virtual, by necessity; and in recognition of the long, strange journey that has been the Year 2020—with its peculiar hardships and unique triumphs—the Director-General chose this year to launch the ITER Awards.
Accepting awards on behalf of their teams are Anil Bhardwaj, leader of the Cryostat Auxiliaries Group; Christophe Montane, crane operator from the company REEL; Joerg Klora, head of the Information Technology Division; and Pascal De Boe, leader of the In-Field Engineering Support Group.
Reflecting on the milestones reached and challenges overcome, four categories were chosen: First-of-a-Kind Component, Balance-of-Plant System, Installation and Assembly Sequence, and Best Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic. The ITER staff were asked to submit nominations for teams in each area; within a week, nearly 120 nominations had been received. These were consolidated, with seven candidates per category, and put to a vote.
The winners were announced during the Tuesday evening celebration. The Director-General presented a representative of each winning team with a polished ingot of ITER Grade F316 stainless steel surmounted by a lucite plate bearing the ITER logo and the declaration, "You are the star makers."
As Director-General Bigot put it, the award winners represented only a small fraction of those who deserved for their work to be celebrated. "I have never been more grateful for all of you—the One-ITER team—than watching your exceptional performance during the extreme challenges we faced this year. Every one of you demonstrated your commitment, whether on the worksite, in the offices, or teleworking. It would be impossible to recognize all of you in a single celebration."
- For the First-of-a-Kind Component award, the winner was the cryostat manufacturing and production team, in recognition of the completion of the cryostat lower cylinder and upper cylinder, as well as the completion of all cryostat lid elements.
- For the Balance-of-Plant Systems award, the winner was the Tokamak Assembly Preparation Building construction team, in recognition of having largely completed this building to nuclear specifications in a 9-month period.
- For the Installation and Assembly Sequence award, the winner was the team of mobile crane operators in the Tokamak Complex, in recognition of their successful performance of multiple complex lifting and movement operations with high precision and safety, including the installation of the cryostat base and lower cylinder as well as the initial lifts of vacuum vessel sector 6.
- For the Best Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic award, the winner was the Information Technology (IT) Division, for providing the infrastructure and innovative solutions to enable the necessary massive shift toward teleworking and digitalization of meetings and processes without loss of performance, using surveys to collect and respond to feedback.
One thing is certain: this is a year we will never forget.
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