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Latest ITER Newsline

  • Cryolines | Another day, another spool

    Having wedged his body and equipment into the cramped space between the ceiling and the massive pipe, a worker is busy welding two cryolines spools. A few metre [...]

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  • Image of the week | Bearings unveiled

    The construction teams are in the last stages of preparing the Tokamak pit for the first major operation of ITER machine assembly: the lowering of the cryostat [...]

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  • Technology | Perfecting tritium breeding for DEMO and beyond

    While ITER will never breed tritium for its own consumption, it will test breeding blanket concepts—the tools and techniques that designers of future DEMO react [...]

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  • Fusion world | Japan and Europe complete the assembly of JT-60SA

    The JT-60SA fusion experiment in Naka, Japan, is designed to explore advanced plasma physics in support of the operation of ITER and next-phase devices. After s [...]

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  • Manufacturing | Thermal shield milestone in Korea

    Six years after the start of fabrication, Korean contractor SFA has completed the last 40° sector of vacuum vessel thermal shield. The stainless steel panels, c [...]

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Of Interest

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Europe's vote of confidence

Laban Coblentz, Head of Communication

The bottom line is always what matters. For the statement issued on Thursday 12 April by the European Council of Ministers, the key phrase was in the final point: "... the Council MANDATES the Commission to approve the new ITER baseline on behalf of Euratom ..."

European oversight of its investment has profited from a steady stream of VIP visitors to the ITER site: ministers, Commission officials, and Members of the European Parliament. Slowly, scepticism has given way to renewed trust. (Click to view larger version...)
European oversight of its investment has profited from a steady stream of VIP visitors to the ITER site: ministers, Commission officials, and Members of the European Parliament. Slowly, scepticism has given way to renewed trust.
The immense value of this bureaucratic phrase to the ITER Project lies in its context. As ITER's host Member, Europe bears the lion's share of the project cost: 45.46 percent.

Correspondingly, European countries and companies receive the greatest benefit—approximately EUR 4 billion invested, with 900 contracts awarded to date to 440 companies and research organizations. But with so much at risk, European leaders were understandably critical just a few years ago, when the ITER Project was running over cost and behind schedule.

Over the past three years, as project reforms have taken hold, this view has changed. European oversight of its ITER investment has profited from a steady stream of VIP visitors: ministers, Commission officials, and Members of the European Parliament have come to view first hand the colossal ITER structures emerging from the ground, the fabrication of first-of-kind components, the arrival of tanks and transformers and many other contributions from around the world. Slowly, scepticism has given way to renewed trust.

In June 2017, the European Commission took the first step, when it sent a comprehensive, 14-page "Communication" to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers: a thorough dissection of why European leaders should have confidence that the ITER Project is on track for success.

With the statement last Thursday, the Council has added its positive endorsement. In its 14-point set of "Conclusions on the Reformed ITER Project," the Council acknowledges the improvements in management that have restored ITER to health, urges all ITER stakeholders to continue to manage risk and control costs, and "reaffirms the continued commitment of Euratom to the successful completion of the ITER Project."

The bottom line? With this vote of confidence from its largest Member, ITER is one giant step further in its journey toward success.



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