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IAEA Director General Visits ITER Experimental Reactor

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and ITER Director General Bernard Bigot at the ITER experimental reactor complex in Saint Paul-les-Durance, France, 6 September 2016 (Photo: ITER)

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano welcomed the progress being made in the construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in southern France. Mr Amano visited the site where scientists are building a device to prove the feasibility of nuclear fusion as a large-scale energy source.

“Fusion energy has the potential to become a virtually inexhaustible, safe and environmentally friendly energy source, capable of meeting global energy requirements around the globe,” Mr Amano said yesterday. “ITER’s impressive work is crucial to advancing research in this field. We look forward to our continued collaboration with ITER toward facilitating fusion research.”

Since the late 1980s, the IAEA has provided a forum for collaboration among countries interested in demonstrating the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes. In 2007, this led to the establishment of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization. The IAEA Director General is the depositary for the ITER agreement, under which scientists are building the international fusion device at the ITER experimental reactor complex in Saint Paul-les-Durance.

During his two-day visit to France, Mr Amano met Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development. He also visited the site of the Jules Horowitz Reactor, a material test reactor being built at Cadarache by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission. The reactor is the first one designated under the International Centre based on Research Reactors (ICERR). ICERR is a scheme the IAEA launched in 2014 to help scientists from around the world gain access to research reactor facilities, build capacities and foster cooperation in nuclear research and development.

The IAEA will host its 26th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in Kyoto, Japan, in October. The aim of the conference is to foster the exchange of results and innovative concepts in nuclear fusion research.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visits the Jules Horowitz Reactor at Cadarache, France. (Photo: C. Brady/IAEA)