Bernard Bigot passed away in the early hours of Saturday 14 May 2022. Up until his last week, as he fought the disease that was to claim him, he marshalled the strength to take the decisions that naturally fell to him as Director-General. He left this world just a few days after ITER successfully performed one of the most complex and delicate of all assembly operations: the lifting and installation of the first vacuum vessel sector module—a massive, 1,380-tonne high-tech component.
Bernard Bigot, who passed away in the early hours of Saturday 14 May 2022, was a man of duty and service, who knew from experience that great challenges require great sacrifice. His untimely passing at age 72 was felt as a blow well beyond ITER and the global science community.
Trained as a physical chemist, Bernard Bigot had a deep understanding of the challenges that went with mastering hydrogen fusion. The experience he acquired at the highest levels of the science and research establishment—as private secretary to ministers, High Commissioner for Atomic Energy, Chairman and CEO of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and as such the principal interface between France and ITER between 2008 and 2015—had prepared him for the daunting task of leading a 35-nation, long-term endeavor, as unique in its goals as it is in its organization and governance.
In the lobby of ITER Organization Headquarters, flowers, candles and a framed portrait honour the memory of ITER Organization Director-General Bernard Bigot. Staff had the opportunity to leave a personal message in a dedicated book.
The news of his untimely passing at age 72 was felt as a blow well beyond ITER and the global science community. From academia to government spheres, from present and past partners in the nuclear world, from simple visitors to ITER who remembered how passionately he communicated his faith in the project, the outpouring of
During the site-wide minute of silence on Monday 16 May senior management gathered in the lobby. From left to right: Takayoshi Omae, Chief Strategist and Deputy Head of the Office of the Director-General; Laetitia Grammatico,, Head of Legal Affairs; Ioan Cruceana, Head of the Office of the Director-General; Youngeek Jung, Head of the Construction Domain; Tim Luce, Head of the Science & Operation Domain; Nalinish Nagaich, Head of the Corporate Domain; Alain Bécoulet, Head of the Engineering Domain; and Eisuke Tada, Director-General (interim). Also present on site at ITER is the ITER Council Chair Massimo Garribba (furthest right), Deputy Director-General at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy.