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Of Interest

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Technical Coordination Meeting relaunched

"You may wonder why we are bringing back the Technical Coordination Meeting of old," said ITER Director-General Pietro Barabaschi as he opened the first session of the four-day hybrid meeting in mid-April that gathered approximately 300 ITER and Domestic Agencies engineers, researchers and other staff interested in project technical matters.

The four-day Technical Coodination Meeting was organized and moderated by Alain Bécoulet, Head of the Engineering Domain. Some participants could meet in persion; even more attended on line. (Click to view larger version...)
The four-day Technical Coodination Meeting was organized and moderated by Alain Bécoulet, Head of the Engineering Domain. Some participants could meet in persion; even more attended on line.
The original Technical Coordination Meetings took place during the ITER Engineering Design Activity phase (EDA, 1992-2001). "It was the best time for EDA participants to have a cohesive view of ongoing technical activities," said the ITER Director-General. "It allowed us to put some of the difficulties we were facing on the table, to brainstorm for solutions to issues, to share knowledge and our different views. At that time it was also a decision-making body, and it had a social element that was important—allowing teams working in different locations to get together."

Today, in the revamped Technical Coordination Meeting, the basic principle has been maintained. During four sessions spread over four days, participants were asked to contribute to discussions on a whole range of project areas. The overall objective for the meeting, as it will be for similar meetings moving forward, was to review overall technical progress and to receive updates on such important areas as safety, assembly, commissioning and other key engineering activities.

The meeting format—bringing together the integrated project team across departments and time zones—also fits squarely with the new ITER Director-General's promise to increase collaboration and transparency in the project. "Meeting like this around problems to solve is an excellent way to have new ideas emerge." 

In the global landscape of ITER, the Technical Coordination Meeting will not be a decision-making body. Instead, recommendations and actions validated during the different sessions will be presented to the Executive Project Board for endorsement and approval.

"Certainly, during four days of discussion it is not possible to find solutions for all technical issues," concluded the Director-General. "And perhaps we were a little ambitious during this first meeting in trying to cover so many topics. But overall, the discussions were fruitful and a number of actions have emerged that we will pursue. What is of essential importance is to make sure that technical debates are exposed in plain sight—heated or not. This is what will ensure that ITER will eventually work as it should."

The Technical Coordination Meeting, open to all interested staff members from the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies, will take place every six months. 

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