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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • On site | 28 who "truly shined"

    The new ITER Star Awards recognize exemplary performance and commitment. Every year, during the annual assessment campaign, ITER staff may be recognized for exe [...]

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  • MT-28 Conference | Superconducting magnets as a catalyst

    Many passers-by paused for a moment and picked up their cell phones to capture the scene. It was indeed rare to see dancers on the square outside of the Pavillo [...]

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  • Fusion world | TCV tokamak turns 30

    The Swiss TCV tokamak (for Tokamak à Configuration Variable, or 'variable configuration' tokamak) has been exploring the physics of nuclear fusion for 30 years [...]

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  • Image of the week | Port cell with a view

    A visit to ITER would not be complete without a peek into the Tokamak pit where the machine is being progressively assembled. For several years, one of the equa [...]

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  • Visit | Chinese Minister reaffirms "full support"

    ITER Director-General Pietro Barabaschi and the Chinese Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Wang Zhigang share a common academic background. They both tra [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Image of the week

200 million years ago at ITER

Back in the Mesozoic, some 66 to 250 million years ago, the ITER site lay at the bottom of a shallow sea that covered most of what is now Provence.

A foreman with a sharp eye: Christopher Lebreton spotted the circular shape imprinted on a rock excavated from the platform. (Click to view larger version...)
A foreman with a sharp eye: Christopher Lebreton spotted the circular shape imprinted on a rock excavated from the platform.
The warm waters swarmed with life: marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, sea urchins, belemnites and the ubiquitous ammonite, resembling present-day nautiluses.

A few weeks ago, as workers excavated a gallery for the Tokamak's cooling water system, a dweller of this ancient world resurfaced.

It wasn't noticed immediately, however. "We only saw the circular shape imprinted on the rock slab once it had been delivered to the deposit area behind the construction platform," explains Christopher Lebreton, a foreman with the contractor that is performing the excavation works—SVA (Spie-Batignolles, Valérian, ADF).

The shape imprinted on the rock was that of the coiled shell of an average-size ammonite—a species which could vary in size from 20 millimetres to 2.55 metres in diameter.

According to Caroline Gamache, a geologist with Spie-Batignolles, the limestone strata where the fossil was found can be dated back 120-200 million years—a time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and our closest parent was a tiny mouse striving to survive in the realm of the "monstrous lizards."


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