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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • 31st ITER Council | Addressing challenges

    The project's governing body, the ITER Council, convened for the 31st time in its history on 16 and 17 November to evaluate the progress of construction, m [...]

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  • Machine assembly | Key components to be repaired

    When building a machine as large and as complex as ITER, difficulties and setbacks do not come as surprises—they are an integral part of manufacturing, assembli [...]

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  • Space management | Optimizing every square metre

    Building management is a constant challenge at ITER. The American statesman Ben Franklin is credited with saying that a successful organization requires 'a plac [...]

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  • Radio Frequency Building | Installing the first power supply sets

    When the plasma in the ITER vacuum vessel is fed sufficient power, the velocity that the particles acquire causes them to collide, fuse and generate considerabl [...]

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  • Fusion history | H-mode, the discovery that made ITER possible

    Forty years ago, the scientists in the ASDEX tokamak control room at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Germany sat up straight. Somethin [...]

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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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