Enable Recite

Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:

Please enter your email address:

@

Your email address will only be used for the purpose of sending you the ITER Organization publication(s) that you have requested. ITER Organization will not transfer your email address or other personal data to any other party or use it for commercial purposes.

If you change your mind, you can easily unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe option at the bottom of an email you've received from ITER Organization.

For more information, see our Privacy policy.

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Data | Archiving 20 gigabytes per second—and making it usable

    One of the main deliverables of ITER is the data itself—and there will be a tremendous amount of it to store and analyze. During First Plasma, the highest produ [...]

    Read more

  • Electrical tests | High voltage, high risk

    In the southern part of the construction platform, a one-hectare yard hosts some of the strangest-looking components of the entire ITER installation. Rows of to [...]

    Read more

  • Vacuum vessel | First sector safely docked

    It was 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday 6 April and something quite unusual happened in the ITER Assembly Hall: applause spontaneously erupted from the teams that h [...]

    Read more

  • Remote ITER Business Meeting | Virtual interaction, tangible opportunities

    While the advent of Covid-19 has not stopped the relentless advancement of the ITER Project, it has certainly prompted ingenuity in how ITER conducts its work. [...]

    Read more

  • Manufacturing | Europe completes pre-compression rings

    The French company CNIM (Toulon) has produced a tenth pre-compression ring for the ITER Project on behalf of Fusion for Energy, the European Domestic Agency. Th [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived entries

High stakes: Mr. Bigot goes to Washington

With a crucial report from the US Secretary of Energy due shortly to the US Congress, an important US Congressional oversight body asked the ITER Director-General to visit Washington, D.C. for a public discussion on ITER's progress.

A quote from British poet Tennyson—quite appropriate for a hearing on fusion energy—was engraved in the wood panel facing DG Bigot. It read: ''For I have dipped into the future far as human eyes could see, saw the vision of the world and all the wonder that would be.'' (Click to view larger version...)
A quote from British poet Tennyson—quite appropriate for a hearing on fusion energy—was engraved in the wood panel facing DG Bigot. It read: ''For I have dipped into the future far as human eyes could see, saw the vision of the world and all the wonder that would be.''
The formal invitation came from The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy of the US House of Representatives—and specifically from the head of the subcommittee, Chairman Randy Weber (Republican-Texas). The focus of the meeting was "an overview of fusion energy science."

In addition to Director-General Bigot, two US fusion experts were asked to testify: Stewart Prager, Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory; and Scott Hsu, a scientist from the physics division of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The hearing was not only about the ITER Project. Other fusion projects, mostly US based, also figured into the questions. But it seemed no coincidence that the hearing occurred only five days after the completion of the ITER Council Review Group report: a probing dissection of the health of ITER reform efforts.

On another timely note: just one week from today, on Monday, 2 May, US Secretary of Energy Ernie J. Moniz is required by US law to deliver to the Congress his own assessment of ITER's progress, with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on whether the US should remain an ITER Member.

That pending decision formed a dramatic backdrop to the subcommittee hearing. In many ways it was positive. Chairman Weber referred to Bigot's performance to date as "stellar and inspiring." He put a welcome spin on the international nature of the project: "We must consider the importance of access to the ITER reactor for American researchers and America's standing and credibility as a global scientific collaborator. If the US is going to lead the world in cutting edge science, we cannot take our commitments to our international partners lightly and we cannot undermine progress on complex projects."

Most of the members of Congress who spoke were similarly complimentary about ITER's recent progress. Representative Hultgren (Republican- Illinois) made one such remark: "... from all that I have heard, the ITER Project seems to be in a much better place than it has been in the past." For the ITER staff listening to the live stream, having experienced the rigours of the past year, it was "music to the ears" to hear this type of recognition from governmental leaders.

Not all questions had easy answers. Some committee members questioned the long-term nature of the ITER Project, seeking a shorter-term solution. Others asked detailed questions that exposed the confusing cost elements and complex organizational structure of the project.

In one interesting exchange, Representative Loudermilk (Republican-Georgia) asked Director-General Bigot whether, given the chance to start over, he would advocate the same multinational project structure. Dr. Bigot's answer showed a deft diplomatic touch: it would have been better, he said, if the elements of the recent Action Plan had been implemented at the beginning of the project.

Perhaps the best context was set by Stewart Prager, another witness, when he declared, without hesitation, that ITER will be "a landmark experiment in science and energy of the 21st century ... the focus of the world fusion energy program, complemented by strong domestic research in each participating nation."

For the link to the full hearing, see the Subcommittee website.

Click here for the full text of Director-General Bigot's written testimony to the Committee.

Click here for the full text of Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Stewart Prager's written testimony to the Committee.


return to the latest published articles