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Director-General Nominee Kaname Ikeda
"The end of the year is always a time to reflect on past events. 2006 was a very busy year with the ITER management team being appointed, staff from all over the world moving in, the design review on its way, the signing of the ITER agreement and the first meeting of the interim ITER Council in November. From last week ITER officially is a legal entity, enabling us to recruit people and to place contracts. Certainly, this was an important milestone for our project and we are now in full operational mode. With this achieved, we now all deserve a break to be enjoyed among our families and friends. "In 2007 we will have to continue pushing on at full strength: we have to focus on the design review, so that the procurements of the long lead items are implemented in time. We will also see the implementation of the Domestic Agencies, the ratification of the ITER Agreement, and the further building up of the ITER team. By spring-time we expect to be more than 170 people which is twice the number of staff at the moment. Many of them come from the Joint Work Sites in Garching and Naka which will both be closed by the end of the year. The extra office space needed will be found in neighbouring buildings, and in new temporary buildings. The clearing of the ITER site will start, and a visitor centre constructed. In short, we have another eventful year ahead."


ITER Director General Kaname Ikeda was awarded the Gold Medal of the town of Sisteron (some 70 km north of the ITER site). The ceremony took place in the town hall of Sisteron on 8 December 2006, where mayor Daniel Spagnou emphasized the importance of the ITER project for the region. "ITER is more than a promise", Spagnou said. "It is a reality from which the whole region of the Haute Provence and especially Le Val de Durance will benefit within the next 30 years."

After ITER became a legal entity in the third week of December, ITER DG Kaname Ikeda signed the first batch of contracts for the first forty staff directly employed by ITER.

In the afternoon of 20 December, Father Christmas stopped his sled in front of the Château in Cadarache, where ITER staff and their families had gathered for the ITER Organization's first Christmas party. Over his shoulder he held a big sack with presents and crackers! Ho Ho Ho!

Going, going, gone - Mario Verrecchia gets ready to leave Garching.
It's time to say goodbye to the ITER Joint Work Sites in Garching and Naka. On 31 December the lights will be turned off in the ITER buildings at the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik near Munich, which has hosted the ITER family since 1988. Some photos from the first years are available here.

Over the past weeks, people have been busy packing their belongings into boxes, most of which will soon be unpacked again in Cadarache. This will fill the ITER building quickly: the number of staff will increase from around 100 at the moment up to 170 in Spring 2007.

On 11 December, the ITER Organization has advertised 52 new positions. The job descriptions and instructions on how to apply can be found here.