Following approval of the project's Baseline in July, the ITER Council this week paved the way forward.
On 17-18 November, the ITER Council, the governing body of the ITER Organization, convened for its seventh meeting. The meeting in Cadarache, France brought together representatives from the seven ITER Members—China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States—under the chairmanship of Evgeny Velikhov (Russia), and included an observer from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In recognition of his life-long contribution to ITER, a moment of silence was dedicated to Toshihide Tsunematsu, Vice-Chair of the ITER Council and Member of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC), who passed away in September.
ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima presented a status report of the ITER Project. The project entered the construction phase immediately after the Baseline was approved at the extraordinary ITER Council on 28 July 2010. This report included a new strategy for cost savings and cost containment.
Werner Burkart, IAEA Deputy Director-General, and Ralf Kaiser, Head of the Agency's Physics Section, observing the proceedings at the seventh ITER Council meeting.
The Council welcomed the actions taken by the Director-General since his appointment and commended the strong collaboration between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies towards cost containment and cost savings. The ITER Council noted with approval the recent progress and pace of development within the ITER Organization. This includes extensive work at the ITER site and the placement of high-tech manufacturing contracts in all ITER Members, including the vacuum vessel which is a "critical path" component. In total, 46 Procurement Arrangements representing 60 percent of the total value of the project have been signed.
The ITER Council encouraged further efforts by the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies to improve coordination and to reduce costs. The Council approved the Annual Work Plan and the Budget for 2011. The Chairs of the ITER Council and the subsidiary bodies were re-elected.
First Foundation Stone Ceremony for the Headquarters Building
After the meeting, the Council members and experts, Domestic Agency Heads, and representatives of the local communities were invited to celebrate the official start of construction on the ITER Headquarters Building. During this historic occasion, the Chair of the ITER Council, Academician Evgeny Velikhov, stated: "This is a very important moment in the history of ITER; it is the day our dream begins to take shape."
The Director-General emphasized: "We are now ready to bring a Sun to Cadarache. Work is progressing on the platform and in the factories where ITER components are being manufactured. It is my duty to keep construction on schedule so that the First Plasma can be achieved before the end of the year 2019."
Finally, the Director-General thanked the Host Party, the European Union represented by Robert-Jan Smits, for its strong support.