Shortly after their arrival and before meeting the press prior to the inauguration, European Commissioner Oettinger and French Minister Fioraso listen to ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima explain the workings of the ITER Tokamak in front of a 1:50 scale model.
A full-page in the regional daily La Provence
, another one in O Estado de Saõ Paulo
, one of the major Brazilian newspapers, and scores of articles, photos and videos in the media across the world—the ITER Headquarters inauguration, on Thursday 17 January, was indeed an event with global reach...
Words pronounced by European Commissioner for Energy Günther H. Oettinger and French Minister of Research Geneviève Fioraso, who unveiled the marble plaque at the entrance of the building together with Director-General Motojima, made headlines. In both their official addresses and in the many interviews granted to the press, the Commissioner and the Minister voiced their strong support for the ITER Project.
Commissioner Oettinger highlighted Europe's "particular responsibility to make ITER a success," as the project's main contributor. Minister Fioraso reaffirmed France's unwavering commitment as Host, "in cooperation with all the ITER Parties," to see the project through to a successful conclusion. "If the spirit of cooperation is present, if the spirit of commitment is present," she said, "then we will be successful."
The Minister expressly thanked the French Agence Iter France and the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy for their accomplishments in the realization of the ITER Project in France.
Some fifty members of the French and European press had the opportunity to ask questions during a press point held in the ITER Council Chamber.
Some fifty members of the French and European press had the opportunity to ask questions during a Press Point held in the ITER Council Chamber.
In answer to a question on her government's nuclear policy and the part fusion could play in the "energy mix" of the coming decades, Minister Fioraso stressed the "fantastic progress that ITER and fusion represent." With fusion, she said, "we can access a decarbonized energy source, one that does not depend on rare raw material and does not produce high-level, long-life radioactive waste. It would be folly to refuse it!"
"ITER is also tremendous scientific adventure," the Minister said. "From this major investment in science, France and its partners know that they will benefit from valuable technological spinoffs and economic stimulation."
Commissioner Oettinger insisted on the importance of "keeping steadfast in funding projects like ITER [that] bring the global community together behind the important and ambitious mission to bring clean and limitless energy into everyday use."
''It is a huge task that we have embarked upon collectively and a heavy responsibility that we have been entrusted with,'' said ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima in his welcoming address.
Both invited guests expressed their appreciation to ITER Director-General Motojima and the ITER staff for the work accomplished, stressing the importance of meeting the "challenge of keeping the project to schedule and within budget" (Commissioner Oettinger) and of "doing everything possible to guarantee the control of budget, schedule and machine performance" (Minister Fioraso).
In the bilateral meetings held during the day and in his welcoming speech in the Council Chamber, ITER Director-General Motojima had anticipated this exhortation: "It is a huge task that we have embarked upon collectively and a heavy responsibility that we have been entrusted with. We can ensure you that we are profoundly dedicated to our task. The ITER Organization and the seven Domestic Agencies are doing everything in their power to respect the budget and schedule that have been established by the seven ITER Members for the ITER Project."
As the Commissioner and the Minister departed respectively for Brussels and Paris, the ITER staff, who had worked hard to make this day a success, could say "mission accomplished"—all in all it had been a very good day for the whole ITER family.
View images of the inauguration here.