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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • FEC2020 | Seeking sponsors for 28th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference

    For only the third time since 1961, the International Atomic Energy Agency's Fusion Energy Conference will be taking place in France—hosted jointly by the Frenc [...]

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  • Nuclear safety | Under constant scrutiny

    Because one of the elements involved in the fusion reaction is the radioactive isotope tritium, and because the hydrogen fusion reaction itself generates a high [...]

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  • Power conversion | Alien structures and strange contraptions

    There are places in ITER that seem to belong to another world, places full of alien structures and strange contraptions. The feeling—a mixture of awe and puzzle [...]

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  • Tokamak Complex | A changing landscape

    For the past three years, the view from the top of the highest worksite crane has not changed much. Inside of the Tokamak Complex, 80 metres below, concrete gal [...]

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  • Ion cyclotron heating | How to pump 20 MW of power into 1 gram of plasma

    To power the ion cyclotron system, the ITER Organization and its partners are designing not only new antennas, which will be housed in the tokamak vessel, but a [...]

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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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