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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Vacuum components | Shake, rattle, and... qualify!

    A public-private testing partnership certified that ITER's vacuum components can withstand major seismic events. Making sure the ITER tokamak will be safe in th [...]

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  • Feeders | Delivering the essentials

    Like a circle of giant syringes all pointing inward, the feeders transport and deliver the essentials to the 10,000-tonne ITER magnet system—that is, electrical [...]

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  • Image of the week | It's FAB season

    It's FAB season at ITER. Like every year since 2008, the Financial Audit Board (FAB) will proceed with a meticulous audit of the project's finances, siftin [...]

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  • Disruption mitigation | Final design review is a major step forward

    The generations of physicists, engineers, technicians and other specialists who have worked in nuclear fusion share a common goal, dedication and responsibility [...]

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  • Image of the week | Like grasping a bowl of cereal

    Contrary to the vast majority of ITER machine components, the modules that form the central solenoid cannot be lifted by way of hooks and attachments. The 110-t [...]

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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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