On 30 October 2001 the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics (Association EURATOM-IPP) at Garching celebrated four anniversaries at one go. Approximately 800 employees and guests celebrated the 40th anniversary of the founding of the institute, the 30th anniversary of its becoming member of the Max-Planck-Society, the world’s first demonstration of “real” stellarator operation 20 years ago and 10 years of successful operation of ASDEX Upgrade.

In his welcoming address Prof. Alex Bradshaw reminded that “already in the sixties it was clear that the way towards the utilisation of nuclear fusion as source of energy would be long and laborious.” Now, the proposed experimental reactor ITER is to find out whether fusion can be used in power plants.

Dr. Hermann Schunck of the Federal Research Ministry pointed out that it is important for the federal government to see that fusion research is part of a long term energy strategy which includes reasonable promotion of renewable energies as well.

Prof. Hubert Markl, president of the Max-Planck-Society reminded of the enormous challenges connected with the founding of the IPP division at Berlin in 1992 and the establishment of the branch institute at Greifswald in 1994.

In his address Dr. Edmund Stoiber, Prime Minister of Bavaria, was not only looking back. He stated that the question of what role fusion could play in a future mix of energies is important, too: “Nuclear fusion is one of the most interesting options for future energy supply.”

Prof. Fritz Varenholt, former SPD Minister of Environment at Hamburg and today executive chairman of the wind power company Repower Systems concluded in his address: “However, the presently used mix of energies cannot be preserved. Fusion research, inherently safe nuclear power stations and renewable energies – these are the directions to go.”

Do you speak German and like to read the address of Prof. Varenholt?