The signatories of the ITER Agreement: Vladimir Travin (Deputy head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), Russian Federation), Takeshi Iwaya (Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan), Xu Guanhua (Minister of Science and Technology, People’s Republic of China), José Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission, EU), Jacques Chirac (President of the French Republic), Woo Sik Kim (Vice Prime-Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology, Korea), Anil Kakodhar (Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Atomic Energy), Raymond Orbach (Under Secretary for Science, Department of Energy, U.S.A.), and Janez Potočnik (European Commissioner for Science and Research).

No doubt, the 21st of November 2006 was a memorable moment in the history of science. On that day at the Elysée Palace in Paris, the ITER Agreement was signed by the Ministers of the seven ITER-Parties, the European Union, China, India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America and the Republic of Korea.

“With this signature, we take a new step on an adventure that is exceptional in every way“, the President of the French Republic and host of the signing ceremony, Jacques Chirac, said. “Exceptional for its scientifi c ambition: to harness the sun´s power to take up the challenge of ecological energy. And exceptional for its international scale: the unprecedented association of seven major partners from the North to the South. It is the hand held out to future generations, in the name of solidarity and responsibility“, Chirac said in his opening speech.

Also present at the ceremony was the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, who stressed Europe´s determination to assume its responsibilities in this project. “Celebrating ITER´s birthday demonstrates the strength of a united Europe”, Barroso said. And with regard to the remorselessly growing energy demand and the climate change accelerating dangerously, the President of the EU-Commission added: “The stakes are high – not to say vital for our planet“.

With the signature of the Agreement and the fi rst ITER Council meeting the same day, the ITER Organization can start its operation on a provisional basis pending the entry into force of the agreement which is expected in the course of 2007. In a personal statement, ITER Director General Nominee Kaname Ikeda added: “With the accomplishment of today´s meeting, the ITER Organization is able to embark on its mission, as a worldwide international cooperation, to help create a new source of energy for humankind“.

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