you're currently reading the news digest published from 09 May 2022 to 16 May 2022



Remembering Bernard Bigot, ITER Director-General 2015-2022

On the ITER site, the machinery of construction was humming just like on any weekday. Workers were concentrating on their tasks, laying rebar for new buildings or preparing for yet another assembly operation. In the offices, engineers and administrators, physicists and accountants were focused on graphs and spreadsheets, with official documents and urgent communications displayed on their computer screens. The mood, however, was one of profound sadness—ITER was experiencing its first workday without the presence, whether physical or online, of its Director-General. Bernard Bigot passed away in the early hours of Saturday 14 May 2022. Up until his last week, as he fought the disease that was to claim him, he marshalled the strength to take the decisions that naturally fell to him as Director-General. He left this world just a few days after ITER successfully performed one of the most complex and delicate of all assembly operations: the lifting and installation of the first vacuum vessel sector module—a massive, 1,380-tonne high-tech component. At the helm of the ITER Organization since March 2015, Bernard Bigot steered the project through particularly treacherous waters. Once appointed by the ITER Council, his first step was to implement a resolute action plan, reorganizing the project's governance, establishing a robust schedule and budget, and strengthening the cohesion between Members. Trained as a physical chemist, Bernard Bigot had a deep understanding of the challenges that went with mastering hydrogen fusion. The experience he acquired at the highest levels of the science and research establishment—as private secretary to ministers, High Commissioner for Atomic Energy, Chairman and CEO of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and as such the principal interface between France and ITER between 2008 and 2015—had prepared him for the daunting task of leading a 35-nation, long-term endeavor, as unique in its goals as it is in its organization and governance. However, the uniqueness of ITER required more than experience in science, the management of large institutions, and the oversight of complex construction projects. ITER—particularly at the time Bernard Bigot accepted his 'mission to serve,'—demanded political finesse and diplomatic subtlety. The ITER Director-General had both in abundance and put them to the best use. The news of his untimely passing at age 72 was felt as a blow well beyond ITER and the global science community. From academia to government spheres, from present and past partners in the nuclear world, from simple visitors to ITER who remembered how passionately he communicated his faith in the project, the outpouring of messages and testimonials has been endless. Most, if not all, include the words 'thank you.' Bernard Bigot was a man of duty and service, who knew from experience that great challenges require great sacrifice.  Demanding of others, he was even more demanding of himself. But beyond what could be felt as an austere demeanor,  he was first and foremost a sensitive and profoundly human leader. 'For me, as for all of us,' wrote Eisuke Tada, his deputy, who has been appointed by the ITER Council in the interim role of Director-General, 'the greatest honour we can pay to Director-General Bernard Bigot is to continue delivering the ITER project with the same unwavering commitment and dedication that he demonstrated to all of us.' Read the official press release of the ITER Organization in English and French. Read more about Bernard Bigot's life and career in English and French. Visit the memorial website here.


Bernard Bigot, directeur general d'Iter Organization, s'est éteint

Iter Director-General Bernard Bigot dies

ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot passes away

Disparition de Bernard Bigot, président de la Fondation pour l'Université de Lyon

Décès de Bernard Bigot, patron du programme Iter sur la fusion nucléaire

Disparition du directeur général d'ITER Bernard BIGOT

Le président de la Fondation pour l'Université de Lyon, Bernard Bigot, est décédé

Director-General Of ITER Bernard Bigot Passes Away

Director-General Of ITER Bernard Bigot Passes Away

Passing of Dr Bernard Bigot, ITER Organization Director-General

Disparition de Bernard Bigot (1969 chimie Saint-Cloud)

Culham tribute to fusion energy 'inspiration' Dr Bigot

UKAEA tribute to fusion energy 'inspiration' Dr Bigot


French scientist leading nuclear fusion project dies at 72

French scientist leading nuclear fusion project dies at 72

Décès de Bernard Bigot, le patron d'Iter

Bernard Bigot: Científico con grandesdotes diplomáticas

Région : ITER endeuillé après la mort de son directeur général

Après le décès de son directeur, que devient le gigantesque projet de fusion nucléaire Iter ?

Décès de Bernard Bigot

Décès de Bernard Bigot, directeur général d'Iter Organization

French scientist leading nuclear fusion project dies at 72

Bernard Bigot était l'âme d'Iter

Décès de Bernard Bigot

French scientist leading nuclear fusion project dies at 72

Passing of the ITER Director-General, Dr Bernard Bigot

Muere Bernard Bigot, científico líder del proyecto internacional "más grande del mundo"

French scientist leading nuclear fusion project dies at 72

Bernard Bigot, patron du programme Iter sur la fusion nucléaire, est mort à l'âge de 72 ans

Bernard Bigot, directeur d'Iter Organization vient de décéder

Décès de Bernard Bigot, patron du programme Iter sur la fusion nucléaire

Marseille: Le directeur général d'ITER Bernard Bigot est mort à l'âge de 72 ans

Le directeur général d'Iter Organization Bernard Bigot est mort

Researchers Stick Out Their Necks to Understand How Fusion Plasmas Fuel Up

Most complex lift to date completed at ITER

Fusione, installato il primo 'spicchio' del reattore di Iter

ITER: successful lift and installation of first segment of plasma chamber

Le CEA, coordinateur d'activités de R&D sur le futur divertor de JT-60SA

9th Runaway Electron Modelling Meeting shows the increasing importance of modelling for ITER

9th Runaway Electron Modelling Meeting zeigt die zunehmende Bedeutung von Modellierungen für ITER

Nuclear Energy As A Gateway To An Economical And Environmentally Sustainable Future

Moniz moderates nuclear fusion panel at CERAweek 2022