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This legal workshop, held in Aix-en-Provence, was an excellent opportunity to discuss the very complex issues related to the specific legal framework applicable to the project.
Last Friday 21 September, the Director-General of the ITER Organization and the President of Aix-Marseille University opened, together, the first ITER Legal Workshop organized by CERIC (International and European Studies and Research Centre of the Faculty of Law of Aix-en-Provence) in collaboration with the Legal Affairs department of the ITER Organization.

This legal workshop was organized around exchange between the academic world and practitioners involved in the everyday life of the ITER Project; it was a great opportunity to discuss the very complex issues related to the specific legal framework applicable to the project. 

Approaches of the academic world and of practitioners revealed to be complementary and fundamental, and this legal workshop enabled all participants to share and confront their experience and outlook for a better understanding of the law applicable to international organizations such as the ITER Organization.

It was also an opportunity to shed light on all the legal issues related to the creation of the ITER Organization and it helped to analyze ongoing and crucial legal issues the ITER Organization is confronted with on a daily basis. In particular, the discussions focused on the specificity of the law applicable to the ITER Organization (question of conciliation between the status of public international organization and the application of French law in certain fields such as nuclear safety, licensing and protection of the environment).

The morning session was devoted to presentations given by distinguished speakers concerning:
- ITER in the framework of international organizations
- The ITER Project and international law
- The ITER Organization and the European Union
- ITER and France.

The afternoon was divided into three panels of discussion composed of ITER staff, scholars and practitioners concerning three different aspects of the ITER Organization's legal framework:
- ITER staff privileges and immunities
- ITER, nuclear and environmental aspects
- ITER and intellectual property rights.

The proceedings of this workshop will be published in order to disseminate the fruitful information shared between all participants. This will be a very important step in writing the legal history of the ITER Project and in spreading information relating to the ITER legal framework.

Prior to the workshop, participants were given the opportunity to visit the ITER site. They were able to see the tremendous progress on the construction and this enabled them to measure the scientific and legal stakes at play and the importance of the ITER Legal Workshop for a better understanding of the ITER Project.

The fact that the workshop was so successful shows the need for further collaboration between the ITER Organization and Aix-Marseille University to explore together legal issues raised by the specific legal status of the ITER Organization.

Over 90 people were present for the launching of this program, aimed at making sure ITER personnel receives personalized help according to need.
What is a mentor? The original Mentor is a character in Homer's epic poem The Odyssey. When Ulysses, King of Ithaca, went to fight in the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of his kingdom to Mentor. Mentor served as the teacher and overseer of Ulysses' son, Telemachus.

A mentor is a trusted counselor or guide, always more experienced, who helps another individual.

On Thursday 13 September at the Château de Cadarache, the ITER mentor program was launched by the Welcome Office of the Agence Iter France. This program puts French people in contact with ITER personnel. The purpose of the French mentors is to help out any ITER expatriate during their time in France, whether this means making phone calls in French, having them over for dinner, aiding in filling out forms, and more.

Over 90 people were present for the launching of this program and the evening enabled all to exchange emails, phone numbers and to get to know one another. This type of program is aimed at making sure each member of ITER personnel receives personalized help according to his or her needs.

We plan on having another ITER mentor party within the coming months.

Matthew Hole, a fellow at the Plasma Research Laboratory of the Australian National University (ANU), heads the Australian ITER Forum, which was created in 2006 to promote cooperation with "fusion's flagship experiment."
Anisotropy ... Bayesian interference ... flow and chaos in fusion plasmas ..., these are some of the topics that Matthew Hole, a fellow at the Plasma Research Laboratory of the Australian National University (ANU), discussed last week at a meeting with ITER physicists.

Down at ANU, 17,000 kilometres from the ITER site, the interest for fusion and for its international "flagship experiment" is strong. For years, the fusion community there has been active in trying to establish some official form of cooperation with ITER. The Australian ITER Forum, which Matthew Hole chairs, was created in 2006 to promote such an engagement.

In Australia, as in any other part of the world, a fusion physicist's path always ends up crossing that of ITER. Individual involvements in ITER-related issues (such as diagnostics, which is one major area of the Australian fusion community's expertise) are many, but no formal institutional collaboration has yet been established.

"The fusion community there is eager to see Australia engage with ITER. But we are scientists, working in universities for the most part. What we need is an endorsement from the Australian government ... and the necessary resources."

The form this collaboration could take is open to discussion. "It is clear that Australia will not be a 'major partner' like the present ITER Members," says Matthew. "Australia has a rich diversity of energy options, so the national energy security driver is not perceived to be as strong."

The "frustration" Matthew acknowledges hasn't dimmed his enthusiasm and he remains "passionate" about the whole issue. "ITER," he says, "will define the fusion research program for at least the next generation. We want to be part of that enterprise ..."

Last Wednesday in Cadarache, Matthew got his first opportunity to feel the reality of the project that has been on his mind for so many years. "The ITER site is huge," he said, "it is one thing to know the basics of the machine, but quite another to appreciate the size and scale of the entire site. What also struck me is the enthusiasm and helpfulness of the ITER staff, as well as the friendliness of the people of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille ..."

The sheer size of ITER might dwarf that of the recently upgraded H-1 NF stellarator operated at ANU's Plasma Fusion Research Facility, but although size matters, it is not all that fusion is about. Australia's fusion device is small (major radius R=1.0 m), but the fusion community there is strong, enthusiastic and determined, and the country has a long history of breakthroughs and innovation in fusion research.

His Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium expressed a strong interest in the project that was presented to him by Director-General Motojima and the Director of the Energy Directorate at the European Commission, Hervé Pero.
On Monday, 24 September, the 27th "Symposium on Fusion Technology" opened its doors in Liège, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium.

The "SOFT" conference is an important gauge for measuring the progress being made in the development of fusion energy. In its last edition in 2010 it attracted more than 1,200 participants, beating its own record and demonstrating the increasing interest in the field.

As he visited the ITER stand, Prince Philippe expressed a strong interest in the project which was presented to him by ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima and Director of the Energy Directorate at the European Commission Hervé Pero.

ITER, as the spearhead approach to fusion energy, will be once more in the centre of the discussion in Liège. The ITER Director-General will be among the key-note speakers summarizing the status of the project, followed by representatives from various departments reporting on the latest developments in key design issues.

In two special satellite meetings, the ITER vacuum team will present the ITER approach to vacuum quality and standards.

And last but not least, don't miss a visit to us at the ITER stand to watch the latest videos showing the manufacturing progress around the world and, of course, to get your free tokamak doughnut! 

Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT)

24 — 28 September 2012
Palais des Congrès
Esplanade de l'Europe 2
4020 Liège

The IAEA held its annual General Conference from 17 to 21 September 2012 in Vienna. Over five days, close to 2,000 high-level governmental representatives from the IAEA's 155 Member States gathered to consider and discuss a range of topics on the peaceful development of nuclear science and technologies.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held its annual General Conference from 17 to 21 September 2012 in Vienna.

Over five days, close to 2,000 high-level governmental representatives from the IAEA's 155 Member States gathered to consider and discuss a range of topics on the peaceful development of nuclear technologies related to the IAEA's programs, focusing on nuclear radiation and waste safety; nuclear security; nuclear science; technology and applications; technical cooperation; and improving the efficiency of the safeguard systems.

ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima attended the Conference as a representative of one of the Non-Governmental Organizations accredited by the IAEA—an opportunity to raise the profile of fusion and ITER in one of the largest energy gatherings worldwide. 

At the opening of the 56th IAEA General Conference, the message from the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, was very clear: "We are also aiming for progress on the critical issue of nuclear terrorism. On 28 September, I will convene a United Nations High-level Meeting on Countering Nuclear Terrorism, which I hope will contribute to strengthening the rule of law in this field."

In the conference's opening session, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano focused on major developments in the IAEA's work. "Today, the Agency is making important contributions to tackling fundamental global problems such as poverty and hunger, energy shortages, cancer and climate change. The Agency provides effective support to enhance the safe and secure use of nuclear energy in Member States."

According to Director General Amano, nuclear energy continues to develop: "When I became Director General three years ago, the talk was of a nuclear renaissance. Then the Fukushima Daiichi accident occurred, raising fundamental questions about the future of nuclear energy throughout the world. Eighteen months after the accident, it is clear that nuclear energy will remain an important option for many countries."

However, safety is now a major issue for all countries. "The most important lesson that we have learned from Fukushima Daiichi is that we need a much more intense focus on nuclear safety. [...] We have expanded the content of IAEA expert peer review services to Member States to include the first lessons learned from the accident. In December, the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, organized by the Government of Japan and the IAEA, will take place in Fukushima Prefecture. At this conference, we will present a report outlining the conclusions of the international expert meetings held so far. We will also prepare a comprehensive report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident, to be finalized in 2014."

The IAEA's Director General stressed the fact that there are 117 States with additional safety protocols and this number is still rising. This is encouraging because the additional protocol is an essential tool for the Agency to be able to provide credible assurance that there is no undeclared nuclear material and activities in a country. Nevertheless, there are still 13 countries without safeguard agreements.

Director General Amano asked for these to be brought into force as soon as possible. "The IAEA should remain first and foremost a technical organization, although our work can have important political implications," he concluded.

The 56th IAEA General Conference also provided the ITER Director-General, Osamu Motojima, with an opportunity to discuss with the IAEA Director General and to meet with several delegations present in Vienna. Director-General Motojima and the Head of the ITER Office of the Director-General, Takayuki Shirao, successively met with Bernard Bigot, High Representative for the Implementation of ITER in France; with the representative of the Holy See Monsignor Branach; with Ambassador Toshio Osawa from Japan; with the Head of the Kazakhstan Delegation Mr Chatrikin; and with the Ambassador of the Principality of Monaco, Claude Giordan.

Work is progressing on the 6,000 m² Assembly Building work site as 1,400 tonnes of reinforcement steel (rebar) are being laid on the blinding concrete prior to the pouring of the "reinforced concrete foundation."

This concrete slab, 2.2 metres thick at the perimeter and 1.2 metres thick in the centre, will support the 57-metre high steel structure of the building as well as the assembling tools that will be installed inside it.

As took place in the Tokamak Seismic Pit, the execution of the Assembly Building foundation has been divided into plots and concrete pouring, which began on Thursday 20 Septembre, will be done sequentially. Steel reinforcement for the last plot is to be completed around February 2013.