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Latest ITER Newsline

  • Upper ports | A very international effort

    The 18 upper ports of the ITER vacuum vessel are procured by Russia, manufactured in Germany, and mounted (in part) on the vessel sectors by contractors in Ital [...]

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  • Paint job | One level done, five to go

    The job is done and the effect is spectacular. At the deepest basement level (B2) of the Tokamak Building, the floors, walls, and ceilings are now perfectly whi [...]

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  • On site | Through the eyes of a crane operator

    Sitting in his cabin 80 metres above the ground, Alex Dumonteil enjoys a most spectacular view. To the north, on a clear day, he can see as far as the Alpine ri [...]

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  • Poloidal field coil #6 | The home stretch

    In Hefei, China, a 400-tonne ring magnet procured by the European Domestic Agency is entering the final phase of production—resin impregnation. In just over one [...]

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  • Neutral Beam Test Facility | SPIDER gets a beam for its first birthday

    Just one year ago, on 11 June 2018, the world's largest negative ion source was inaugurated at the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility with the ignition of a brief [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

A specialist in large engineering projects

Krista Dulon

Joo Shik Bak: Chief Engineer for the ITER Project since 1 April 2012. (Click to view larger version...)
Joo Shik Bak: Chief Engineer for the ITER Project since 1 April 2012.
For a high-school student in rural Korea in the 1970s, the opportunity of attending the University of Seoul seemed an impossible dream. But Joo Shik Bak was one of the lucky ones. Determination, grades, and the encouragement of a very remarkable teacher helped to earn him admittance into the engineering program in 1975.

Some 35 years—and the construction of four enormous scientific machines—later, JS Bak was preparing to take up new duties as ITER project Chief Engineer in April.

"I'm a rather conservative man," says Bak during a February visit to ITER. "My training as an engineer has helped me in the management tasks that I faced during my career. Engineering is a school of clear decision-making that goes hand-in-hand with business matters such as cost management, schedule deadlines and performance."

Bak was in charge of the ion source and accelerator tube for Korea's first DC accelerator (the 1.5 MV Tandem Van de Graaff Accelerator, completed in 1982). From 1983 to 1990 he built a medical cyclotron and a medical microtron at the Korea Cancer Center Hospital and was in charge of operations. Over the next 10 years he oversaw the development of the 2 GeV Electron Linear Accelerator, insertion devices and beamlines at the Pohang Synchrotron Light Source. And in 2001 he took on the challenge of developing the KSTAR Tokamak's main structures (vessel, cryostat, thermal shields, magnets...), including overseeing the manufacturing of the 30 superconducting magnets and their feeders.

With the achievement of First Plasma in 2008, the KSTAR Tokamak took its place in history as the first niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) superconducting tokamak in the world.

"I have always felt a strong responsibility for nuclear fusion. I have been involved with many large fusion R&D machines; still, we do not yet have fusion energy for the public. My principal motive in joining the ITER Project is to work toward this goal for the next generation." In recognition of his role in the construction of four one-of-a-kind devices in Korea, Bak was awarded the Hyeoksin ("innovation") Medal, Order of Science and Technology Merit, by the Korean government in 2009.

At ITER, Bak will support ITER Deputy Director-General Rem Haange, head of the Project Department, by identifying and solving issues that could potentially cause delay in manufacturing. "My experience allows me to say—ahead of time—that it will be necessary to work with the heart and not only brains," warns Bak. "Attitude counts for a lot in a project like this. Each one of us should feel a huge responsibility."

He has been closely associated with the ITER Project since 2005 as a member of the Korean delegation to the ITER Science and Technology Advisory Committee. He has also filled the role of deputy Director-General and chief engineer of the Korean Domestic Agency for ITER.

"Where there is no ingenuity there is no achievement, and where there is no achievement there is no real happiness," he concludes. "If we believe in ITER's success, our project will not fail."


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