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ITER NEWSLINE 142
This week, the ITER Council, the Governing Body of the ITER Organization, convened for an extraordinary meeting. Following the most recent reunion of the ITER Council in China in June this year, in which no agreement was achieved on the funding of the project due the ongoing debate within the European Party, the ITER Members decided to convene again for an extraordinary meeting in order to complete discussions on the ITER Baseline.
This updated schedule describes ITER all the way from the beginning of construction, through commissioning, and on to Deuterium-Tritium operation. The main milestones will be the achievement of First Plasma in November 2019 and the start of Deuterium-Tritium operation by March 2027 ultimately taking ITER to 500 MW output power.
The ITER Council unanimously approved this Baseline, and encouraged the ITER Organization to explore ways to optimize the schedule in order to begin Deuterium-Tritium operation in 2026, if possible.
Another important decision of this extraordinary meeting was the appointment of Prof. Osamu Motojima as new Director-General of the ITER Organization. Prof. Motojima is taking over the leadership from Kaname Ikeda, who has led the ITER Organization since November 2005. Osamu Motojima, a well-known and much respected figure in the field of fusion science in Japan and abroad, was formerly Director General of the Japanese National Institute for Fusion Science.
In his first press conference Prof. Motojima stated that the approval of the Baseline symbolized a landmark day for the ITER project. The chairman of the ITER Council, Evgeny Velikhov, added that "what we are achieving here is to ensure not only the success of ITER but also the success of fusion."
Click here to read the Press Release in English.
Click here to read the Press Release in French.
Not even 24 hours had passed since he had signed his contract when Osamu Motojima, the new Director-General of the ITER Organization addressed his team - by now counting more than 700 people. In his address he thanked his predecessor Kaname Ikeda for his contribution to the project and especially for finalizing the Baseline that was approved yesterday at an extraordinary meeting of the ITER Council.
A fusion scientist himself, DG Motojima said he was very proud to lead the ITER project, but that he was also aware of the huge responsibility he had undertaken. "The world is watching us," he said. "The role of the ITER project is very important in order to show that fusion energy is an achievable goal."
In his inaugural address, he also introduced the new management structure of the Organization and his strategy for cost containment, following a request by the ITER Members. His recipe to meet cost containment goals? Simplicity.
A lot of legal work has been performed these past weeks at the ITER Organization.
On Tuesday 6 July the ITER site, while remaining CEA property, was made available by notary deed to the ITER Organization. Less than three weeks later, ITER and CEA legal representatives met again in Paris to sign a sale deed for the existing site installations (Visitors Centre, technical buildings, storm basins, etc.).
By way of these two deeds, ITER now holds "full rights" to the land and buildings and will retain them for the duration of the ITER Agreement—that is, until 24 October 2042.
While the overall responsibility of the ITER site and existing buildings rests with the ITER Organization, actual construction work will be conducted mainly by Agence ITER France for the future Headquarters building; and by the European Domestic Agency (F4E) for all the buildings that constitute the ITER facility.
On 26 July, ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda proposed to Jérôme Pamela, Director of Agence Iter France, to "delegate temporarily"—meaning until completion of the Headquarters building by the end of December 2011—the responsibility of health, safety, environment protection and logistics on the ITER worksite to Agence Iter France/CEA.
Three days later, Kaname Ikeda's successor Director-General Osamu Motojima and Frank Briscoe, Director of F4E, signed an agreement that made the ITER platform available to F4E in order to "undertake the construction of the ITER buildings and site infrastructure."
Complicated? "In appearance only," says Harry Tuinder, the Legal Advisor to the ITER Director-General. "Every large construction site—and ITER is one of the largest in the world—has to face this kind of challenge. We have set up an ITER Site Steering Committee that will coordinate, under our responsibility, Agence Iter France and F4E's activities on the worksite. Everything is now ready, and earlier than we expected, to enter the construction phase."
It may be the same old URL, but the content, look and feel are totally new. The flash animation in five steps gives you a flavour of what's it all about. The colours are bright, the images are sharp and the structure is clear. The new website reconciles the high-tech dimension of fusion with its human face and the promise of a sustainable and abundant energy source.
The brand new F4E homepage offers a menu that allows users to navigate easily between sections. It is structured along five main blocks: "About F4E" where users can learn more about the institutional setting, the functions of the organization and have the option to download key documents; "Understanding Fusion" presents the science of fusion and the technology of the ITER device, illustrates the different steps in getting fusion to happen and highlights its merits; "Procurement and Grants" offers an explanation on the different contracts signed by F4E, the procedures, and also presents an overview of ITER Task Agreements and ITER IO Calls; the "Media Corner" hosts the latest news and events plus a new section with publications, videos and photo galleries. Last but not least one of our most-visited sections, "Career Opportunities", offers an overview of the latest job openings and the working conditions at F4E. On the right hand side of each page, a list of quick links is inserted to help users navigate other relevant sections while on the top a menu with short cuts appears to make navigation easier.
Apart from the changes in the architecture of the site, we have also improved the texts and the language used in order to reach out to different audiences. We have redrafted a large part of the texts in order to keep the information clear and succinct. To accompany the wealth of technical details, we have made an effort to include images and videos which explain ITER and fusion in a truly engaging way. The new website offers a number of new features amongst them: animations, RSS feeds, a quick sign-up application for F4E News and the possibility to follow F4E on Twitter and to share content.
The option to follow F4E on Facebook will soon be available in order to interact in more dynamic way with the new generation of fusion fans.