EU Commissioner for Energy: "ITER is a unique project in frontier science"
Kadri Simson, European Union Commissioner for Energy, spent Friday 17 September at ITER. In the course of her visit to key site installations and during the press conference that followed, she described ITER as a prime example of Europe's commitment to climate neutrality by 2050.
One year ago, during ITER's start-of-assembly ceremony, Commissioner Simson addressed the ITER community by video conference, prevented from attending in person by pandemic travel restrictions.
Kadri Simson, from Estonia, is European Commissioner for Energy. She is also one of the seven members of the Commissioners' Group on the European Green Deal.
This month, she was able to visit the ITER site in person in the company of a small group of staff and advisors.
Europe is responsible for the largest portion of ITER construction costs (45.6 percent)—a commitment that represents EUR 5.6 billion in the current long-term European Union budget (2021-2027).
"We are so pleased to have Commissioner Simson on site today," said ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot. "The European Union is a main contributor; without it we could not move forward."
Commissioner Simson spoke of the enormous industrial venture that is ITER as a unique project in frontier science that should break the borders" of fusion research. "I came here today to witness the construction of the biggest tokamak in the world and to speak with leading experts on how fast we can have this fusion breakthrough."
As part of her portfolio, Kadri Simson has responsibility for speeding up the deployment of clean energy across the economy and supporting member states' national energy and climate plans. She is also one of the seven members of the Commissioners' Group on the European Green Deal.
A tour of on-site manufacturing and assembly activities was followed by a press conference that was attended remotely by journalists from Reuters, ANSA (Italy), Euronews, Bloomberg, WELT and others. ''The ITER Project is a prime example of the European Union's commitment to climate neutrality by 2050,'' said Commissioner Simson.
"The European Union is determined to address the issue of climate change, not only by setting ambitious targets in the short and medium terms, but also by investing in technologies for sustainability in the long term," Commissioner Simson stressed during the press conference that followed her site visit. "Research and innovation are key to confronting climate change—they have the potential to offer us sustainable solutions for an ever-growing electricity demand. The ITER Project is a prime example of the European Union's commitment to climate neutrality by 2050."
She also highlighted the positive impact that advances in fusion science and technology are already having on the economy. "Discoveries that have been made through European fusion research in the last decades are already finding applications in a wide variety of fields such as the health and aviation sectors," she said. "Businesses and research institutions are expanding their capacities and helping to cultivate a community of scientists and engineers that will be ready for the era of global fusion when it comes."
Watch a short video of the Commissioner's visit here.
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