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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • On site | ITER celebrates important milestones

    On 16 June 2022, the ITER amphitheatre was packed with life again after two years of silence, part of a new project culture initiative called "Commit to De [...]

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  • Port cell maintenance | A full-scale mockup for dress rehearsals

    Every port in the ITER vacuum vessel has a corresponding port cell in the Tokamak Building. These corridor-like spaces allow heating and fuelling pipes, electri [...]

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  • Magnets | Have the last pancake!

    After close to five years of intense activity, the winding table at the south end of the European poloidal field coil factory on site is now empty. Last week, t [...]

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  • 30th ITER Council: Progress in a time of challenge and transition

    The Council chamber on the fifth floor of the ITER Headquarters building resonated once again with the sound of voices as Member representatives gathered for th [...]

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  • Open Doors Day | Back together again

    After more than two years, ITER has resumed a tradition that dates back to 2007—Open Doors Day. On Saturday 18 June, more than 50 "volunteers," staff [...]

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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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