On Thursday 24 September, at the invitation of the Commission locale d'information (CLI), 60 local residents, trade union representatives and community activists gathered in the village of Vinon-sur-Verdon to hear the latest news on project progress
The ties are close between ITER and its neighbours: thousands of visitors, mostly local residents, are welcomed to the site every year; ITER management meets the local mayors and officials on a regular basis; and the men and women from many horizons who form the "ITER community" are now an integral part of the social, economic and cultural reality of the region.
Whether formal or informal, these ties are essential to the success of the project. ITER needs the support of its neighbours and its neighbours need a clear idea of the complexities, the challenges and the stakes of the ambitious scientific endeavour underway in their backyard.
Every year, the Commission locale d'information (CLI) provides an opportunity to strengthen ties by organizing a public meeting in the neighbouring village of Vinon-sur-Verdon.
On Thursday 24 September, 60 local residents, trade union representatives and community activists gathered in to hear the latest news on project progress and to have the opportunity to have their questions answered by representatives of the ITER Organization, Agence Iter France, and the French administration.
François Gauché, recently appointed head of the ITER Safety Department, presented the fundamentals of fusion physics and the main milestones achieved since the previous CLI meeting in July 2014. The latest facts on economic benefits, contracts and manpower projections were provided by Jérôme Pamela, director of Agence Iter France, and the representative of the French administration, Secretary General for Regional Affairs Thierry Queffelec.
More specific questions on construction site working conditions were addressed by Laurent Schmieder, head of the joint ITER Organization/European Domestic Agency BIPS Project Team (for Buildings, Infrastructure & Power Supplies).
The relationship between a nuclear installation and the surrounding population is not always simple. Beyond the information they provide, such encounters are one of the best ways to build confidence and understanding.