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  • Thermal shield | Practising the embrace

    In the ITER Assembly Hall, fitting tests are underway on two outboard thermal shield panels. Once paired, the 11-metre-tall, silver-plated components will [...]

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  • Blanket first wall | Manufacturing kicks off in Europe

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Former Council Chair Iotti

"Everyone should be congratulated!"

For those who dreamed ITER in the 1990s, a visit to the construction site today is like stepping into a miracle. For Bob Iotti, who has been associated with the project since its early days and who later chaired both the ITER Management Advisory Committee (2008-2009) and the ITER Council (2014-2015), a site tour should be a familiar, no-thrills affair. It is not. Even for an ITER veteran, being onsite and taking in the full measure of the project's magnitude remains an awe-inspiring experience.

Bob Iotti was back at ITER last week to tour the site and to measure the progress accomplished since he left three years ago. (Click to view larger version...)
Bob Iotti was back at ITER last week to tour the site and to measure the progress accomplished since he left three years ago.
"Anyone who comes here can't fail to be impressed. It is so big, so gorgeous! What's been accomplished in the past three years since I left is just astounding ..."

Fishing smallmouth bass in Kansas, designing an innovative fast-neutron fission reactor, but always keeping his eyes trained on and his ears open to what's happening in the ITER world... (Click to view larger version...)
Fishing smallmouth bass in Kansas, designing an innovative fast-neutron fission reactor, but always keeping his eyes trained on and his ears open to what's happening in the ITER world...
As Council Chair, Iotti had steered the project through some very rough waters. Although building ITER will never be easy sailing, many things have changed. "Now people know that ITER is doable. Morale is high; I sense an awful lot of enthusiasm. The current rate of progress—0.6 percent per month toward total work scope to First Plasma—means the schedule will be met. Everyone, both here in the ITER Organization and in the Domestic Agencies, should be congratulated for that."

Iotti doesn't make light of the challenges ahead. "There will soon be material and components descending en masse on site. Are all plans and strategy in place to deal with such a huge quantity of items? This might be one of the most challenging phases so far, but also one of the most exciting ..."

A nuclear engineer by training and a specialist in the design and construction of large nuclear facilities, Bob Iotti is now busy working on the design of a small, modular, fast-neutron fission reactor. But he's never, and never will be, far from ITER: "I've dedicated so much of my life to this project," he says, "that I will always keep my eyes trained on it and my ears open to what's happening in the ITER world. If I can help, if I have some influence here and there, I will use it to promote this unique and magnificent project."


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