Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:

Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • WEST | Revamped tokamak completes 1st phase of operation

    One day, in the latter half of this decade, it will be routine at ITER: dozens of operators, with eyes riveted to their individual monitors as numbers, graphs a [...]

    Read more

  • Roof modules | Patience, precision and a crane's long arm

    In the spring of 2020 a new and strategic phase of ITER construction will begin: the assembly of the ITER Tokamak. In order to deliver machine components to the [...]

    Read more

  • Image of the week | "Bringing light and hope"

    Most international organizations are headquartered in large cities—the UN in New York, UNESCO and the International Energy Agency in Paris, the IAEA in Vienna, [...]

    Read more

  • Outreach in China | A week devoted to fusion

    A new biennial event in China seeks to create a comprehensive exchange platform for the scientists, engineers and industries that are driving the country's stro [...]

    Read more

  • Monaco-ITER Fellows | New campaign announced

    The seventh recruitment campaign for the Monaco-ITER postdoctoral fellowship program opens on 13 January. Since 2008, thirty postdocs have carried out origin [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived entries

800 visitors on the fusion launch pad

ITER Communication

Some 17,000 people visit the ITER site every year but only a few are given the opportunity to enter the Tokamak Pit and stand on the floor of the Tokamak Complex—the Holy of Holies of the ITER Project.

The pillars on the north side of the Assembly Hall basemat add a spectacular dimension to the Tokamak Complex worksite. (Click to view larger version...)
The pillars on the north side of the Assembly Hall basemat add a spectacular dimension to the Tokamak Complex worksite.
On Saturday 30 May, as ITER's doors were opened wide to the public, some 800 people experienced first-hand the construction of the largest and certainly most ambitious science venture of all times—the quest to mimic the energy of the Sun and stars.

The majority had come as neighbours; some had driven all the way from Spain, Italy, or Switzerland... All wanted to see up close what they only glimpsed from afar or read about in newspapers and magazines. And all sought to understand how, by fusing hydrogen atoms in a giant furnace, mankind was on the way to opening a new chapter in its history.

Standing on the floor of the Tokamak Complex amid a forest of steel rebar was like standing on the launch pad of a Mars-bound space rocket. The launch pad may not yet be complete—and the rocket not yet assembled—but the feeling of awe was already there.

Of course, everything required explanations. What is a plasma? How can it be heated to temperatures in excess of 150 million degrees? What "container" holds it in? Are you certain it's going to work?

The ITER Communication team, supported by volunteers from the technical and scientific departments of the ITER Organization and by specialists from the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy, did its best to explain the hows and whys of fusion energy and ITER in understandable terms. Representatives of Agence Iter France—the agency that acts as an interface with the host country—introduced the youngest visitors to the challenges of preserving the site's biodiversity.

In the buses that drove visitors across the ITER worksite, in front of the tokamak mockup in the Visitors Building, and in the cordoned-off area of the Tokamak Complex, a clearer picture progressively emerged—that of a project which, despite its complexity and challenges, holds a potential key to a better future: access, for the benefit of all mankind, to an unlimited, safe and clean source of energy.

View the slideshow below.


return to the latest published articles