A ceremony to celebrate the official beginning of ITER’s assembly was held on 28 July 2020 in Cadarache (France). The event was co-hosted by the President of the Republic of France, Emmanuel Macron and ITER’s Director-General, Bernard Bigot, with remarks from Ministerial-level representatives from the participating countries. EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson gave a speech by video to the attendees gathered in person at the ITER site. The Russian Federation was represented by Director General of ROSATOM Alexey Likhachev, who addressed the participants by video.
ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is a unique project to build the world’s biggest fusion machine to produce net energy. It stems from the ITER agreement, which was signed by China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the USA in 2006. After over a decade of design, manufacturing and construction, the ITER device is now entering its assembly phase. On 26 May, the first major component of the machine was installed, making it the first of many elements that will enter the Tokamak Pit over the next few years. Large components for the machine have been shipped from all over the world, and they are now waiting in the wings ready to be installed by the 3,000-strong assembly team.
Recalling the European dimension of the project, EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson spoke about the technological and collaborative achievement that is represented by getting to this stage in the project, as well as the need for all of the Members to reinforce their commitment to ITER in these difficult times.
By fostering innovation and international collaborations, the project creates economic growth and job opportunities while putting the EU in the lead of global fusion research. Although a purely experimental device, ITER will help advance fusion energy technology for a greener and more sustainable energy mix.
The European contribution to ITER is funded from the EU budget; for the period 2021 to 2027, the European Commission has proposed to contribute €6.07 billion to ITER.
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