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Top management

ITER Council appoints new Director-General

Convening in an extraordinary session in Paris, the ITER Council has appointed Pietro Barabaschi as the next Director-General of the ITER Organization. Mr Barabaschi is expected to take office in the coming weeks.

Pietro Barabaschi, © F4E (Click to view larger version...)
Pietro Barabaschi, © F4E
Following the passing of former Director-General Bernard Bigot in May 2022, the ITER Council launched a search and recruitment effort to select his successor. In an extraordinary meeting in Paris on 14-15 September 2022 the Council held interviews with the finalist candidates and unanimously chose Pietro Barabaschi to lead the ITER Project.

At the same time, the Council thanked Eisuke Tada for his service as Interim Director-General during the transition period.

Trained as an electro-mechanical engineer, Pietro Barabaschi has spent virtually his entire career in the service of fusion research.

Shortly after his university studies in Italy, he joined the Joint European Torus, JET, where he worked in the Department of Machine Development. During the Engineering Design Activities (EDA) phase for ITER, he was part of the Joint Work Site in San Diego (USA) and later the Joint Work Site in Garching/Munich (Germany), where by 2006 he was Deputy to the Project Leader and Head of the Design Integration Division. Since 2008, Mr Barabaschi has been the Head of Broader Approach Programme and Delivery for Fusion for Energy (F4E), the European Union organization responsible for Europe's contribution to ITER.

Twice also—in 2015 and this year since June—Pietro Barabaschi served as Acting Director of Fusion for Energy in Barcelona, Spain, responsible for overall management of the organization (450 staff) and the implementation of reform measures while recruitment was ongoing for a new Director.  

The Broader Approach activities complement the ITER Project and aim to accelerate the realization of fusion energy. The Broader Approach Agreement, signed in 2007, set into motion three projects, all located in Japan, with the joint investment of Euratom and the government of Japan (represented by its Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, MEXT)*.

The work includes the construction, now completed, of the advanced tokamak fusion device JT-60SA, the construction of the prototype accelerator for the IFMIF project, and preliminary work on DEMO, the future European demonstration reactor.

"I'm conscious of the immense responsibility that I am taking on, and feel privileged for having been selected through an intensive competitive selection process. I wish to thank the ITER Council for this honour," declared the incoming Director-General. "The first 15 years of my career have been dedicated to ITER and I now hope to be able to take on what my predecessors have done towards our common objective. I will make it a priority to improve the integration of ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies, both essential elements of the ITER Project, now and even more in the forthcoming phases of commissioning of ITER."

The new ITER Organization Director-General is expected to take office in October.

*Since 2016 and the establishment of the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST) in Japan, the agreement has been developed collaboratively by implementing agencies F4E and QST. In 2020, the Agreement was extended to cover further cooperation on research and development in the field of fusion energy.

Read the press release issued on 15 September 2022 by the ITER Council in English and in French. A brief curriculum vitae for Director-General Barabaschi can also be downloaded in English and in French.



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