Nice to think our innovative precision engineering has contributed in a small way to the world’s largest nuclear fusion project

ITER ceremony marks start of the assembly phase

ITER ceremony

A ceremony to celebrate the official beginning of ITER’s assembly has been held today (28 July), co-hosted by the President of the Republic of France, Emmanuel Macron and ITER’s Director-General, Bernard Bigot. In addition to a number of recorded messages from senior political figures 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 in Cadarache (France) and via livestream.

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.

Given the ongoing restrictions related to the coronavirus crisis, the ITER Organization chose to mark the occasion with a hybrid celebration, with representatives from all of the ITER Members attending either in-person or virtually. The event first consisted of a tour of the ITER worksite, livestreamed for all attendees, followed by the formal ceremony. President Macron and the Director-General Bigot made introductory speeches and talked about the upcoming assembly phase before conducting a global tour, with remarks from Ministerial-level representatives from the EU, the US, Japan, China, Russia, Korea, India, and Germany.

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. To close the event, a bottle of champagne was symbolically broken on an assembly tool to mark this next step along the road to fusion power.