The 25th Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT 2008) in September 2008 presented a survey of the most recent progress in fusion research. It was held in the hanseatic town of Rostock, situated on the Baltic coast in northeastern Germany. More than 680 scientists and engineers from all over the world – from 28 countries – attended this important forum of fusion technology and presented a total of 535 contributions. The traditional conference takes place every second year, hosted by a different country each time. This year’s organizer of the conference, the 25th event in this series, was the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics at Greifswald.

The objective of the SOFT is to exchange information on design, construction and operation of fusion experiments and on the technology for present and future fusion machines and power plants. With the start of the ITER project, fusion research is now making a big step forward. Accordingly, ITER with its demanding requirements was a major topic – more than 50 percent of the oral presentations were referring to the test reactor.

A Fusion Technology Forum with 38 exhibitors supplemented the scientific sessions bringing together industry, research laboratories and institutions active in fusion technology. Promoting exchange between industry and research was also the objective of a panel discussion entitled “ITER and Industrial Development”. Chaired by Harri Tuomisto from the Finnish power and heat company Fortum, Didier Gambier and Maurizio Gasparotto, Director resp. Chief Engineer of F4E, Hans-Dieter Harig, former EoN C.E.O., Dr. Claude Jablon from the Comité Industriel ITER, Kurt Ebbinghaus from Deutsches ITER-Industrie-Forum, and Philippe Garderet, the Scientific Vice President of AREVA, discussed industrial involvement in fusion technologies and in the implementation of ITER.
Isabella Milch