Ceremony – Start of assembly of the ITER fusion test reactor

ITER is a promise of peace, says French President Emmanuel Macron

July 29, 2020

Assembly of the ITER international fusion test reactor in Cadarache, southern France, has begun. The symbolic kick-off was celebrated by the global project on 28 July 2020 together with government representatives of the seven ITER partners – China, Europe, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the USA – in a virtual ceremony.

Due to the corona pandemic, only a few guests were allowed in the ITER assembly hall. But thanks to live broadcasting and video connection, the audience was global.

After opening addresses by ITER Director Bernhard Bigot and ITER Council Chairman Luo Delong, President Emmanuel Macron, representing the host country France, welcomed the guests. ITER is a promise of peace, he said in his video address, broadcast from the Elysee Palace in Paris, where the ITER International Agreement was signed fourteen years ago. ITER cooperation is “a proof that what brings together people and nations is stronger than what pulls them apart“.

As representative of Europe – with German currently holding the Council Presidency – Michael Meister, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, representing Chancellor Angela Merkel, opened the round of greetings: In view of the increasing global demand for energy, a broad range of options must be examined, including fusion as a focus of German energy research. Germany will support the completion of ITER and will work during its EU Council Presidency to ensure adequate funding. Also the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, assured the project of the support of the European Union in her video message from Brussels.

In a message read out by Research Minister Wang Zhigang, the President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, gave his congratulations on the progress of the ITER project, “one of the most important international scientific collaborations in the world”.

On behalf of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ambassador Jawed Ashraf emphasized the “historic occasion”. India is proud, he said, to be part of a global enterprise that is at the forefront of science and technology.

The congratulations of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were conveyed by Japan’s Research Minister Hagiuda Koichi. He said disruptive innovation is needed to tackle global issues such as climate change and to achieve a sustainable carbon-free society.

In his video address, the President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-In, in view of the milestone achieved looked back on the challenges and difficulties encountered during the course of the project: “We were able to overcome such hurdles”, he said, “because the seven member countries chose to pool their wisdom”.

Alexei Likhachev/Rosatom read the message of greeting of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin: ITER is a vivid example of efficient and mutually beneficial multilateral cooperation, he said. Russia is one of the founding countries of the ITER initiative; moreover, the project “is based on the concept of the tokamak, invented and developed in our country”.

On behalf of the USA, Energy Minister Dan Brouilette wished the ITER team every success for the upcoming assembly work. In the USA, the hope is for a bright future for fusion energy: “Lets go to work, let’s change the world”.

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