The Contact Persons from the seven ITER Members together with financial and judicial experts convene once more at the Château in Cadarache this week. Focus is on Project Resource Regulations, Intellectual Property Management, the establishment and operation of Field Teams and guidelines for the accession of new Members and export control. The meeting lasts until Wednesday.
From the beginning of the school year in early September 2009, the option of a Type 2 European School curriculum may be offered, subject to approval by the French Minister of Education and by the High Council of the European Schools alongside the current International School curriculum for its secondary school. This means that for the European languages, up to 90% of the lessons will be allowed to be given in mother tongue language, instead of 50%, as is currently the case.
This is the outcome of a meeting between the International Advisory Committee of the International School, which consists of members of the Domestic Agencies or of the Member states' Ministries of Education, and representatives of the French Ministry of Education on 22 April. The Committee, which was set up to ensure that the ITER Member states are actively involved in the development of the school, had a meeting with ITER parents in the early afternoon to listen to their suggestions and concerns, prior to meeting the ministerial delegation.
A number of additional improvements will also be put in place at the beginning of the new school year:
* For every level, one class will be opened
* A Spanish section will be launched
* The school year will start off with 7 weeks of intensive language courses in French, English and Italian for those who wish and any pupil who arrives during the year will also get these courses
* In September 2008, the school will employ more than 50 teachers
"These new developments are very good news for the school," says Pascale Amence-Antoni, Senior Advisor to the ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda, "and they will certainly be welcomed by many parents and pupils. It is also proof that the School, the local communities, the Ministry of Education, the IAC Committee members and ITER are all working closely together to make sure the International School lives up to expectations of ITER staff and their families."
At five in the morning, the going gets tough. Heads become heavy and a bed would now be very much preferred to the hard seats in meeting room 110. Last Wednesday, the lights turned on at three o'clock in the morning in the ITER offices in Cadarache, just as Principal Deputy Director-General Norbert Holtkamp opened the IO-DA Meeting 16.000 kilometres away in Hefei, China.
At the same time as the video-conference party in room 110 headed into the morning, the group in the US ITER office on the other side of the planet, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, struggled to stay awake as the clock passed midnight US time. And as the IO-DA meeting continued the next day, the remote attendees in East and West convened again in front of the video screens the next morning - or evening, respectively. International collaboration takes its toll from time to time - with or without the inventions of modern communication.
A delegation from the "Gendarmerie Nationale", Region Provence Alpes Cotes d' Azur (PACA), took a tour around the ITER construction site this Monday, 28 April. The Gendarmerie delegation was led by General George Chariglione (3rd from right), He was accompanied by ITER Deputy Director-General Carlos Alejaldre, Lieutenant Colonel Hertaux, Lieutenant Huc, ITER Communications Officer Neil Calder, DG Kaname Ikeda, Colonel Isoardi and Colonel Labrot (from left to right). The Genadarmerie is in charge of the security on the ITER site, for the ITER staff and their families and finally for the safe transport of the ITER components from Fos sur Mer to Cadarache. |
For the first time in the history of the ITER project, the Financial Audit Board came together in Cadarache for its first "on the spot" audit. In February a kick-off meeting had been held at the Château in order to prepare for this audit.
The role of the Board which has one representative from each ITER Member, was to examine whether the financial statements made by IO in the year 2007, including balance sheets, expenditure tables and contracts, corresponded to the Project Resources Management Regulations. Although the Board had little time to prepare for the audit, the Chairman, Professor Hiroshi Nagano, described the result of this one-week exercise as "a true and fair view of the IO's financial statement." Even though there were still some things to be improved, "we are here to make ITER become a success," Nagano said. The final Audit Report will go to the ITER Council, together with the Financial Statement made by IO.
Last week, temporary traffic lights were put in place on the road leading to Cadarache just after the junction with the Pont de Mirabeau. This is to allow works to be carried out on the road to enable the large ITER components to pass through this narrow section of the "Itinéraire ITER" from the port of Fos to the construction site.
The roadworks will last 12 months. At this early stage the timing of the lights is being tested out to establish the best possible flow of traffic particularly at rush hours. Various schemes for coping with these roadworks were examined before the alternating traffic scheme was finally adopted.
There was a particularly long queue last Friday during the evening rush hour, but this was due to a driver not obeying the red lights and therefore blocking the traffic from both directions.
Some of the ITER staff have only just arrived, others have been here for a while, but all have had to adjust to new health insurance, a new pension scheme and a different tax situation. Although many aspects of these systems have already been explained, some questions may need further clarification. The ITER Human Resources (HR) Division therefore invites all ITER staff, both directly employed and seconded, to two information seminars:
On 16 May a seminar on ITER Medical Insurance and Pension Fund will be held in the "Rene Gravier Amphitheatre". The agenda is as follows:
- 13:00 - 13:15 HR presentation on IO social contributions
- 13.15 - 13:20 Staff committee presentation of the subcommittee for insurance and benefits
- 13:15 - 13:30 Presentation of the Medical Insurance, general questions with Previnter
- 14:00 - 15:00 Presentation of the Pension Fund, general questions with ASH (La Mondiale)
- 15:00 - 16:00 Time for individual questions.
During this seminar details of both schemes will be presented, so it will be a great opportunity for all ITER staff to understand both policies and to clarify, directly with the insurers, any specific questions.
In order to prepare efficiently for this seminar, please send your questions on Medical Insurance and Pension Fund to the staff committee at all-StaffCommittee@iter.orgwhich will collect them and liaise with the HR division so that we can inform our insurers in advance of the major issues.
Around the end of May, another seminar will be held on the French Income Tax Declaration Procedures. During this Seminar representatives of the French tax department will explain how to fill in and deal with the French tax forms and will further clarify the tax situation of ITER employees in France. The exact date will be announced soon.
In order to discuss the progress and development of the ITER project and the agenda of the upcoming Council meeting, Kaname Ikeda, Director-General of the ITER Organization (IO) together with the IO's legal advisor Paul Henry Tuinder visited ROSATOM and the ITER Domestic Agency of the Russian Federation last week. During his visit, Dr. Ikeda was introduced to the team of the Domestic Agency and he visited the Nuclear Synthesis Institute of the Russian Research Center "Kurchatov Institute" and the F-1 Reactor, the oldest working reactor in the world, in operation since 1946.