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ITER Director-General Pietro Barabaschi visits Korea
The Director-General of the ITER Organization, Pietro Barabaschi, has visited the Republic of Korea on September 11th.
Since Director-General Barabaschi was appointed as the Director-General of ITER in October 2022, following the sudden passing of his predecessor Dr. Bernard Bigot, he has spared no effort over the past year to overcome the challenges faced by ITER. Despite the unexpected absence of the Director-General and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he has worked tirelessly to ensure the successful progress of ITER's construction. Director-General Barabaschi visited Korea to encourage more active engagement and closer cooperation on ITER, and to discuss the progress of the ITER project.
Director-General Barabaschi met Cho Seong-kyung the 1st Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Science and ICT(MSIT). Vice-Minister Cho greeted Director-General Barabaschi by saying that “it is a pleasure to meet Director-General Barabaschi, and I thank you for visiting Korea”. To which Director-General Barabaschi replied that “we are grateful for the Korean Government and ITER Korea’s active support for the ITER project”.
Director-General Barabaschi provided a detailed explanation of the status of the ITER construction progress during his meeting with Vice-Minister Cho, remarking that “we are currently preparing to revise the ITER construction baseline, and are doing the best we can in regards to risk prediction, quality control, and cost minimizing”, and that “the technical challenges faced by ITER are common to many other projects, and will be overcome”.
Vice-Minister Cho and Director-General Barabaschi shared the importance of raising the next generation of fusion energy experts. Director-General Barabaschi stressed that raising the next generation of fusion energy experts quickly is vitally important to ensure the success of the ITER project. In response, Vice-Minister Cho remarked that she wished for increased opportunities for Korean personnel to participate in the ITER project, including through ITER post-doctorate programs among other means.
Director-General Barabaschi visited the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy(KFE) and was given an introduction to KSTAR research along with a tour of KSTAR research facilities. He was especially interested in the tungsten diverter upgrades KSTAR is currently undertaking and remarked that he looked forward to future KSTAR research results with the divertor upgrades.
The Director-General also visited Korean companies that are participating in ITER project procurements and/or producing parts for KSTAR. He stressed that Korea plays an important role in the ITER project and asked for continued active participation.
Currently, ITER is taking a moment to look back upon the road so far to ensure a successful construction and future operation. The seven ITER member states are confident that the robust ties and cooperation among them will enable the ITER project to overcome all challenges and capitalize on the opportunities that challenges sometimes present.