Posted on: 12th September 2008
10:00 am Tuesday 9th September, JET Facilities at Culham Science Centre: all the preparatory works are complete. Dr Francesco Romanelli, EFDA Associate Leader for JET, and members of his team are ready to welcome an important guest, His Excellency Mr Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, Ambassador of France to the UK. Upon arrival on site the ambassador explained how keen he was to see the JET Facilities and learn more about fusion and the research being done at JET. The reason for his strong interest in this research field: In his previous appointment as diplomatic adviser to French President Jacques Chirac, Mr Gourdault-Montagne played a key role in the negotiations leading to the ITER siting in Cadarache, France.
In the presentation by Dr Romanelli His Excellency could get to know about the organization under EFDA, its research at JET and the ongoing contribution to the physics, operation and design choices of ITER. The head of French diplomacy in London then had the opportunity to tour the JET Facilities and to witness live experiments in the JET control room. In meeting the French community on site he was pleased to note the large contribution of France to the JET project and was highly interested in getting feedback on what the French scientists thought politicians should be doing in order to speed up the development and implementation of fusion as an energy source.
In concluding his visit, the Ambassador said that throughout his career he had learnt that “two things are important to successfully run a country on the international scene, one of these is investment in research and development”. He believes fusion must be further boosted due to its high energy and economic potential together with its safety and environmental friendliness.