Dutch Minister’s visit to JET Facilities

Although every high profile visit at the JET Facilities follows more or less the same format, each has its own character. When the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ronald Plasterk, visited the JET Facilities in the mid-April the former molecular biologist left his individual mark on those accompanying him and his delegation by asking many detailed questions of both senior scientists as well as students.
The Netherlands Organisation (NWO) is the central Dutch institution in the field of fundamental and strategic scientific research. The Dutch EURATOM Association – the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) – is funded predominantly by NWO. The FOM Institute of Plasma Physics in Rijnhuizen focuses its fusion research on superconductors, development and application of radiation sources and molecular physics. A partnership of Dutch organisations has agreed on developing a Master of Science in Fusion Technology which should encourage more graduates to study in this field.

Ronald Plasterk, Minister of Education, Culture and Research in the Netherlands

“I have come to appreciate the work you are doing in fusion research in order to tackle one of the challenges of our time. I have taken note of the collaborative spirit which prevails here at JET and, in particular, of the enthusiasm which everybody demonstrated.”

Ronald Plasterk

Minister of Education, Culture and Research in the Netherlands


Nieck Lopez Cardozo, Head Fusion Research of the Dutch

“Minister Plasterk asked very direct and penetrating questions concerning the feasibility and, in particular, the time schedule of fusion energy. In a lively exchange he found a homogeneous fusion community providing clear answers. The theme of the minister clearly was: can we afford not to develop fusion, and if we can’t, can’t we get it earlier! However, what really appeared to strike home with him was discussing science with a couple of young PhD-students and others in the JET control room. The dedication and enthusiasm of the researchers was inspirational!
My personal impression of the visit is most of all: our highest priority should lie with getting fusion energy as fast as possible. Identify future problems and start solving them. Work hard on reliability and reduction of complexity. Move towards the commercial plant along the fastest track. That is what politicians expect us to do, and rightly so. I believe the visit was very important to broaden the support in the Netherlands for fusion research in European and international collaboration.”

Nieck Lopez Cardozo

Head Fusion Research of the Dutch EURATOM-Association FOM


Thijs Versloot

“I was pleased to have met the Minister in person. He was very interested in my work experience in a research environment like JET and in my motivation to take my PhD studies abroad. As fellow scientists, we agreed that research environments like those present at JET are exciting learning grounds for motivated students. This would not be possible without the joint collaboration of many parties including FOM, the NWO and UKAEA.
With the newly formed Master of Science Course in Fusion Technology at the Eindhoven University of Technology, I even hope to see even more students participating in fusion research over the coming years.”

Thijs Versloot

PhD Student from Institute of Physics, FOM


Peter de Vries, Session Leader at JET

“This visit showed that the Dutch are serious about fusion and their contribution to ITER.”

Peter de Vries

Session Leader at JET