On Tuesday this week, two years after the Partnership signing ceremony between the ITER Organization and the Principality of Monaco in the Prince's palace in January 2008, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco visited ITER to get a first-hand look at the construction site and to meet both ITER management and the first five Postdoctoral Fellows pursuing research under the terms of the agreement: Sophie Carpentier-Chouchana, Matthew Jewell, Axel Winter, Evgeny Veshchev and Kim Junghee.
Since 2007, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has been funding tangible projects in the areas of climate change, access to potable water, biodiversity preservation, the fight against deforestation and last but not least the promotion of renewable energies. In 2008, the committed Prince expressed his interest in the quest for clean fusion energy, underlining the Principality's historical interest in nature preservation. This led to a Partnership Arrangement with the ITER Organization that was signed on 16 January 2008.
As part of that Arrangement, the Principality of Monaco will contribute EUR 5.5 million to the ITER project over a period of ten years. This donation will be used to finance five Postdoctoral Fellowships every two years and a bi-annual International Conference on ITER-related research. The first of these Conferences is scheduled to be held in Monaco in October this year.
The conditions for Prince Albert's journey from Monaco by helicopter on Tuesday couldn't have been more perfect - not one cloud was to be seen in the Provençal sky and the landscape beneath was covered with fresh snow. Upon landing at the Château de Cadarache, Prince Albert II was welcomed by ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda and Serge Durand, Director of CEA Cadarache. The first item on his agenda was a virtual tour through the ITER tokamak given by Professor Castejon from the institute CIEMAT in Madrid, Spain.
In his address to the Monaco Fellows and ITER staff, the Prince expressed his satisfaction for "this most interesting and most productive visit." The ITER project, said the Prince, "opens vast prospects for future generations. The project quite naturally attracted my attention and that of the Monegasque Government, since it should ultimately open the way for energy from abundant resources, equitably distributed over the entire planet."
The visit of Prince Albert II, ended with each of the Monaco Fellows giving a short presentation of her/his research which the Prince received with great interest. After a short chat with the Fellows, the Prince boarded his helicopter and took off in a blast of sunshine and glistening snow.