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Safety First

Carlos Alejaldre, ITER DDG (Click to view larger version...)
Carlos Alejaldre, ITER DDG
I would like to take this Director's Corner as an opportunity to talk about safety. Setting up a sound safety culture is one of the core values of our mission. We all have to understand that the ITER project must have the same high expectations for its safety performance as for its science performance.

ITER is a wonderful mixture of people, cultures and knowledge resulting in an exceptional working environment. The English language is our common instrument for communication, and it swings with a broad spectrum of accents and dialects. And so does our perception of safety. It depends on our cultural background, our nationality and — very much so - on our gender.

Regardless of our wonderful and inspiring diversity, we have to come to a common understanding that safety must come first. Always and everywhere! Safety must be the first concern for whatever we do, whatever decision we take. Safety must become an integral part of our work. And this is only partly due to the fact that we are building a nuclear facility. The rapidly growing number of staff is a safety challenge and we are no longer only virtually but physically moving towards construction.

Improving ITER's safety performance will thus be an integral part of our activities this year. The safety standards established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) form the basis for this approach. We will build on this with special training sessions for both management and staff, starting with regular safety trainings for all newcomers. Together with the French Nuclear Authorities, we will also support the management on clarifying roles and responsibilities. An effective, strong and accountable line management is the key to ensuring a safe work environment and thus to all our future success.

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