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Norbert Holtkamp talking to industry at this year's SOFT conference in Rostock. Photo courtesy IPP. (Click to view larger version...)
Norbert Holtkamp talking to industry at this year's SOFT conference in Rostock. Photo courtesy IPP.
Rostock is a charming town with cobble stone courtyards and red brick facades situated on the shores of Germany's Baltic coast. Once a member of the Hanseatic League, Rostock has a long tradition, it also hosts one of the oldest universities in Europe founded in 1419.

This week, Rostock moved into the academic focus as it hosted the 25th Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT 2008) organized by the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics in Greifswald. The symposium is held every two years and presents a detailed survey of the most recent progress in fusion research. The ITER project with its demanding requirements was certainly a major topic of this year's event.

As keynote speaker, Octavi Quintana Trias, Director for EURATOM in the Directorate General for Research in the European Commission, summarized the achievements and challenges of the European fusion energy research programme. Trias was followed by the ITER Principal Deputy Director General, Norbert Holtkamp, giving an update on the project's progress and an overview of the latest technological achievements such as the successful performance testing of the ITER magnets, the development of sophisticated diagnostic systems, new wall materials and the control coils for plasma stabilization. In total more than 20 talks and presentations dealt with specific ITER related research and development.

The presentations and poster sessions were supplemented by a Fusion Technology Forum with 40 exhibitors promoting the exchange between industry and research. The same objective was the subject of a panel discussion entitled "ITER and Industrial Development".

A verbal award was issued to two of the most notable works presented during the conference. One of them was the talk on the ITER Remote Maintenance Management System on the basis of "message clarity and its importance for the correct execution of the ITER components", the conference organizers stressed. The other award went to a work on magnetics carried out at the RFX Project in Padova. "I would like to share this reward with all of you, since you all participated and contributed to this work", Leader of the Remote Handling Section, Alessandro Tesini, said.

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