Francesco Romanelli, EFDA Associate Leader for JET, is always pleased to welcome high profile visitors to the JET Facilities. In the recent years, ambassadors from several European countries found their way to JET. They took back to their Embassies the impression of the scientific scope and scale of a large fusion experiment conducted in an international environment.

In 2008 France contributes 70 scientists to the JET programme, second only to the UK.

Early in September Francesco offered a warm welcome to the French Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Mr Maurice Gourdault-Montagne. Michel Chatelier, Head of the EURATOM-CEA Association also participated in the event. In 2008 France contributes 70 scientists to the JET programme, second only to the UK, followed by Germany with more than 50 Physicists and Engineers. In addition, the French Embassy funds Internship Schemes for about eight French students per year to perform scientific work at JET.

The reason for the high interest of Mr Gourdault-Montagne is given by a particular event in his career: In his previous appointments as Ambassador of France to Japan and Senior Diplomatic Adviser to the then French President Jacques Chirac he played a key role in the negotiations leading to the ITER siting in Cadarache, France.

In meeting the French community on site Mr Gourdault-Montagne was pleased to note the large contribution of France to the JET project and was mostly interested in receiving feedback on what French scientists thought governments 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 “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 environmentally friendliness. Francesco Romanelli looks forward to introducing Ambassadors from other European countries to the unique atmosphere and the European character of JET as a world class leading experiment.