Mario Merola, leader of the ITER Divertor Section and acting Blanket Section leader, has been appointed Head of the Internal Components Division. This Division comprises activities for the divertor, the blankets and the frame modules for the Test Blanket Modules (TBMs).
Mario, born in Naples, Italy, in 1963, started his career in fusion with a degree in Nuclear Engineering at the Polytechnic of Milan. Looking at the topic of his PhD thesis, one would think he chose it having his later ITER career already in mind: Technology for Plasma-Facing Components.
"Back in those days, the idea of having a component that could withstand 20 MW/m² was a dream. But now, the development of a reliable heat removal system has become reality, and we will see it inside ITER."
In 1994 Mario became Assistant Professor for Nuclear Technologies at the Polytechnic of Turin, Italy. Two years later he joined the EFDA team, the former coordination body of the European fusion program based in Garching, Germany, as Responsible Officer for the divertor technology. In 2006, one year after Cadarache was chosen to host ITER, Mario joined the ITER team; two years later he was appointed Divertor Section Leader.
"The internal components are crucial for the performance of the machine," Mario stressed. "They are the soldiers at the frontline of the plasma. And our army, composed by the staff members of the Division, by our ITER colleagues and the staff in the Domestic Agencies, is determined to win the battle. And we will." return to Newsline #85