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First ITER Council convened in Cadarache

-Sabina Griffith

 (Click to view larger version...)
The Korean delegation at the ITER Council Meeting. (Click to view larger version...)
The Korean delegation at the ITER Council Meeting.
 (Click to view larger version...)
On 27 November 2007, the ITER Council convened for the first time in the history of the new International Organization. Opening the meeting, Dr Werner Burkart, Deputy Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said: "Let me congratulate all who have contributed to the achievements of the ITER initiative to date. I wish you the very best for continued good progress so that fusion technologies can come of age in a world in desperate need of clean, abundant, and carbon dioxide-free energy."

Setting a new paradigm in international scientific collaboration, the two-day meeting in Cadarache France brought together top scientific statesmen and stateswomen from China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States. This first Council meeting, convened by the IAEA, came about a month after the entry into force of the ITER Agreement on 24 October 2007.

The ITER Council is the supervisory body of the ITER Organization, responsible for the overall direction of its activities. Council delegates elected Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, Chairman of the Consultative Committee for Euratom on Fusion, as its Chairman. He thanked the Council stating: "This meeting is a truly important day for fusion and for mankind, as it marks a major step towards the availability of fusion as an environmentally responsible source of essentially limitless energy." Academician Evgeny Velikhov, President of the Russian Kurchatov Research Institute and one of the originators of the ITER project, was appointed as Vice-Chairman.

The ITER Council formally appointed Kaname Ikeda as Director-General of the ITER Organization. He thanked the Council for the great honour of being named as first Director General of ITER and asked: "...the members of Council and the representatives of the Domestic Agencies for statesmanship and vision in the years to come, as ITER, being a unique venture, cannot be a success without being able to come to creative and visionary solutions for challenges that we have never faced together before." Norbert Holtkamp was named as Principal Deputy Director-General along with six Deputy Director-Generals.

The Director-General then reported on the progress of the project since the July 2007 meeting of the Interim ITER Council. He focused on the site preparation, the build-up of the project team, finance and accounting, and the development and deployment of project management tools. He also presented cooperation agreements with IAEA and the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN), and the Principality of Monaco. The Council also approved the Draft Budget of the ITER Organization for 2008.

Much attention was paid to the results of the ITER Design Review and engineering activities. The Council acknowledged the successful completion of the year-long review, led by the team that will build ITER, aimed at updating the 2001 Baseline Design. The Council commended the efforts of the ITER Organization and all those who took part in the review from the ITER Members. Chairman Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith said that the first meeting of the ITER Council was "a turning point" for the project: "The design review showed that the ITER design is fundamentally sound, although the implications of some design choices and changes need to be studied further in the coming months. The stage is now set for major procurement activity in ITER members as well as the beginning of construction on the ITER site."


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