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FuseNet at the SOFT conference 2012

The flags of all the ITER partners were waving a welcome to visitors from all over the world at the Palais des Congrès in Liège, Belgium. More than a 1000 participants gathered in the Congres Centre to discuss the latest developments in fusion research. FuseNet was there as well, to participate in the 27th Symposium on Fusion Technology (also known as SOFT conference).

The SOFT conference was opened by his Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium, who subsequently attended the key-note opening speeches, and showed great interest in the development of fusion technology as alternative energy scenario

In the first key-note speech Hervé Pero, acting Director of the Energy Directorate at the European Commission, put forward the European Roadmap to Fusion Energy. He emphasized the importance of coordinating the European activities and the need to educate high quality engineers for ITER. And ITER, he said, will be crucial for the success of fusion.

In the following speech, the ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima presented the status of the ITER project, and the measurements taken for schedule control. Director-General Motojima showed how the ITER train is getting back on track, and referred to more milestones met by the Unique ITER Team (a term used to indicate the integrated body consisting of DA Heads and IO management, to emphasize the common goal they pursue). At the end of his speech, Director-General Motojima kindly invited Prince Philippe to come and visit the ITER site at any suitable time.



Photo copyright Michel Houet Photo copyright Michel Houet

After the opening, a large community of engineers and researchers could attend one of the parallel sessions, visit the poster-sessions and the various stands. The ITER stand featured a nice mockup of the reactor and perhaps even more popular, a free tokamak doughnut!

The FuseNet Association also presented its activities and its members with a series of posters, in one of the conference stands.
We had good conversations on how to promote and improve the quality of fusion education, and received interest in participation from industry, but also from several universities and research institutes that were not a member of the association yet. It was also nice to see several students coming along, who had received support from FuseNet in the past, or who participated in one of the FuseNet sponsored events.