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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

ITER Director speaks to EUROfusion

For the August edition of Fusion In Europe, ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot was asked to comment on the "decisive and honest" piece that he penned for the scientific journal Nature on 9 June. Mr Bigot also discusses the present status of ITER, reflects on the changes he has implemented since he took up his position in March and addresses the project's most pressing challenges. Excerpts:

''ITER is a complex project and needs to be explained to the public,'' says ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot (right) in an EUROfusion interview published this month. ''When you explain [...] you have to do it with absolute honesty. Honesty is in my nature, and as Director-General of the ITER Organization it is also my duty.'' (Click to view larger version...)
''ITER is a complex project and needs to be explained to the public,'' says ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot (right) in an EUROfusion interview published this month. ''When you explain [...] you have to do it with absolute honesty. Honesty is in my nature, and as Director-General of the ITER Organization it is also my duty.''
What motivated you to write such a decisive and honest statement about ITER's current status in the magazine Nature?

I was asked to contribute a comment on the present status of ITER. I am glad you find this piece "decisive and honest." That is what I intended. It is very important for me to respond to media requests. ITER is a complex project and needs to be explained to the public. When you explain, when you try to share your convictions and pre-occupations, you have to do it with absolute honesty. Honesty is in my nature, and as Director-General of the ITER Organization it is also my duty.

Your academic and political work for the past 20 years has always been close to the realization of ITER. When you started as new ITER Director-General, were you fully aware of all the struggles you would have to face?

I was aware of the difficulties the project was facing. But I would not use the word "struggle," which is a bit too harsh. Let's say that certain situations require more dialogue and concertation ...

We need now to foster an atmosphere in which all actors feel personally responsible for the project, not just for their area of specific competence. All Domestic Agency heads share this vision. Now, the day-to-day reality is always slightly different from what you anticipate. Old habits die hard ...

In your Nature article we learned about the building of integrated teams as one of your first steps. How many teams are to be built and what will be their specific domains?

The creation of integrated teams, which we call "Project Teams," stems from the necessity to increase the efficiency in the management of critical technical issues. They should deliver improved communication, reduced paperwork, and elimination in the duplication of procedures and swift decision-making. Within their technical jurisdiction, they integrate all players — Central Team, Domestic Agencies and, if needed, representatives of industry — into a cohesive decision-making body. The first Project Team for Buildings, Infrastructure and Power Supplies (BIPS) is now operational. It brings together 38 staff from the European Domestic Agency for ITER and 27 from the ITER Organization Central Team. A Vacuum Project Team has also been established and will be followed by another for cryogenics. Only a small number of in-kind procurement items will require the establishment of a dedicated Project Team because of specific difficulties or complexity.

Continue reading the interview on the EUROfusion website.



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