IAEA and ITER | Even closer cooperation

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IAEA and ITER

Even closer cooperation

Under Practical Arrangements signed in June, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the ITER Organization will be expanding and deepening a long history of cooperation.

ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot signs the IAEA-ITER Practical Arrangements in the presence of Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy. (Click to view larger version...)
ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot signs the IAEA-ITER Practical Arrangements in the presence of Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy.
Since its inception in 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has worked to foster international collaboration in fusion research and development by facilitating the exchange of scientific and technical information among its Member States.

  • As early as 1958, the newly created IAEA was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the global collaborative effort on fusion at the Second United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, in Geneva.
  • Supported by the dedicated community of fusion researchers in the Member States, the Nuclear Fusion journal was set up in 1960 by the IAEA to disseminate knowledge in this niche area of science. Today the journal is considered the main source of information about advances in nuclear fusion.
  • An International Fusion Research Council was also established in 1971 to advise and provide guidelines to the IAEA Secretariat on matters relating to the fusion R&D program.
  • The Agency played the role of godparent to the ITER Project through its early conceptual and engineering design phases, and kept the fusion community abreast of developments through ten years of ITER newsletters (1988-1998). The early cooperation phases and the ITER negotiation phases were carried out under the auspices of the IAEA.
  • The Director-General of the IAEA is the Depositary of the ITER Agreement. A representative of the IAEA is invited to attend every ITER Council meeting.
  • The IAEA hosts a variety of fusion-related forums, including the biennial Fusion Energy Conference, a series of workshops on the next phase DEMO, and many technical meetings.
  • A Cooperation Agreement signed in 2008 with the ITER Organization formalized cooperation between the two institutions on the exchange of research results, training, publications, conferences, research, modelling, and safety and security.
  • For the more than 120 IAEA Member States that are not part of the ITER Organization, the IAEA performs an important bridging function, disseminating knowledge from ITER to the wider community and providing a platform for exchange between ITER and the rest of the world.
In June, the IAEA and the ITER Organization agreed to strengthen their cooperation through a new agreement known as the Practical Arrangements. The document was first signed at IAEA Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, by Assistant Director General and Chief Coordinator Cornel Feruta, before being conveyed for signature to the ITER Director-General by Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, who was arriving to attend the 24th Meeting of the ITER Council (see related article).

Under the Practical Arrangements, ITER will share its experience related to nuclear fusion safety and radiation protection with the IAEA and its 171 Member States, including those who are not members of ITER. This information from the first fusion device in the world to undergo nuclear licensing will play an important role in the potential development of IAEA safety standards related to nuclear fusion as well as relevant nuclear security guidance.

The two organizations will also implement educational initiatives on plasma physics and fusion engineering; coordinate public outreach activities; and cooperate in knowledge management and human resources development.

Follow these links for the IAEA press release and the IAEA fusion portal.


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