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ITER Council Meeting reports successes and concerns

The 10th ITER Council meeting that took place on June 20 and 21, in the impressive Ronald Reagan building in Washington DC, reported successes as well as concerns over the schedule of the project.

The Council Meeting reported on several successes and positive advancements for the project. The construction at the ITER site is making good progress, and so does the manufacturing of certain components, the qualifying of the superconductors for the Solenoid, and testing strategy for the toroidal field coils was endorsed. An overall, there is a strong belief that the global partnership, with commitment of the seven major stakeholders, can overcome the challenges ahead and build ITER by working together as a team.

Reported delays in the project were also mentioned in several areas, the main ones being the construction of the vacuum vessel, magnets, heating & CD, diagnostics and work related to the fuel cycle of ITER. Following the recommendations of the council's advisory bodies (the STAC and MAC), the ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima urged a detailed and realistic plan to get the project back on track. "In total, 318 milestones will have to be achieved by the end of 2013 to get the project back on track," Motojima said.

The schedule as currently laid out, foresees a completion of the vital components and allows first plasma towards the end of 2020, and D-T operation in 2027. In November at the next ITER Council meeting, the schedule and implemented plans will be revisited.