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Latest ITER Newsline

  • Heating | A pinch of moondust in the ITER plasma

    One day in the distant future, fusion plants might be fuelled by helium 3—an isotope that is extremely scarce on Earth but reputed to be abundant on the Moon. B [...]

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  • Delivery | 2,000 km through canals, locks and tunnels

    When the thruway is closed, one takes the back roads. And when it's low-water season on the Rhine-Rhône canal, a barge leaving Switzerland for the Mediterranean [...]

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  • Monaco Fellows | A hand in shaping ITER

    For the sixth time, ITER is welcoming a group of five young researchers as part of the Monaco-ITER postdoctoral fellowship scheme. Working alongside experienced [...]

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  • On site | Drone survey on a perfect day

    There are days in winter when the skies over Provence are perfectly transparent. Snowy peaks 200 kilometres away appear close enough to be touched and farms, co [...]

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  • AAAS conference | ITER on the world science stage

    With more than 120,000 members globally, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is billed as the world's largest scientific society. The [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

At International Forum, fusion rhymes with innovation

Robert Arnoux

The ITER Project, which Director-General Motojima presented as ''innovation itself,'' was the focus of strong interest last weekend at the Rencontres Economiques in Aix-en-Provence. (Click to view larger version...)
The ITER Project, which Director-General Motojima presented as ''innovation itself,'' was the focus of strong interest last weekend at the Rencontres Economiques in Aix-en-Provence.
One Prime Minister (Italy's Mario Monti); one former French President (Valéry Giscard d'Estaing); a US Supreme Court Justice (Stephen Breyer); a European Commissioner (Michel Barnier); several World Bank executives; high-profile university professors; a number of international CEOs; the Director-General of ITER ... all were gathered in Aix-en-Provence last weekend to participate in the Rencontres Économiques, an international forum aiming to promote a better understanding of global economic challenges and "to reflect on the actions that will influence the future of human society."

One of the main themes discussed this year: Innovation. What creates favourable conditions for innovation? Which innovations are most likely to succeed? Can society impulse innovation? The ITER Project, which Director-General Osamu Motojima presented as "innovation itself," was quite naturally the focus of strong interest from the participants.

As explained in the documentation distributed to the audience, fusion research in general and ITER in particular have been a major booster for innovation. The complexity of the ITER design has already pushed a whole range of leading-edge technologies to new limits. Time and again, innovative technological solutions have been developed to address specific ITER challenges, solutions that have found applications well beyond the bounds of fusion technology.

There are already numerous examples of fusion spin-offs that are providing concrete solutions to real and current problems.
Already, superconductor R&D has led to significant spin-offs in magnetic resonance imaging; diagnostics developed for the study of plasma turbulence have found applications in advanced satellite thrusters; innovative techniques to bond carbon-fibre composites originally developed for tokamaks are now used in aerospace... even the clothing industry has benefitted from fusion spin-offs: the electronic looms that produce high added-value cloth and fabrics from computer-generated design owe much of their performance and reliability to the very micro-actuators that were developed for tokamak components.

One of the most valuable innovations of ITER however, does not belong to the realm of science or technology. The collaboration between 34 nations in pursuit of one goal, Director-General Motojima stressed, "is creating a new culture standard." The ITER project is a strong testimony to human creativity and resourcefulness; it demonstrates daily that nations—when confronted with a global challenge—can pull together to establish a completely new model for international cooperation.

Click here to view DG Motojima's interview.
Another brochure about fusion spin-offs here.


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