November 29, 2006 Every country should have one – it’s the US$10 Billion ITER Fusion Test Reactor currently being constructed in the South of France to provide the know-how to subsequently build the first electricity-generating power station based on magnetic confinement of high temperature plasma - in other words, to capture and use the power of the sun on earth for peaceful purposes. ITER is something to be proud of – it is a joint international research and development project that aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion as a source of power for mankind – ample power would significantly lessen the chance of war. The partners in the project are the European Union (represented by EURATOM), Japan, China, India, South Korea, the Russian Federation and America. On earth, the aim is to harness this energy source to produce electricity in a safe and environmentally benign way, with abundant fuel resources, to meet the needs of a growing world population. Ministers from the ITER parties came together recently to sign the agreement to establish the organization and it’s very likely these pictures will be in school text books a thousand years from now . The signature ceremony took place at the Elysée Palace in Paris and was hosted by the President Jacques Chirac and by the President of the European Commission, M. Jose Manuel Durao Barroso. ITER Director General Nominee Kaname Ikeda said the meeting, the ITER Organization would now embark on “its mission, as a worldwide international cooperation, to help create a new source of energy for humankind”. We’re not sure if we’re more excited about the FUSION device or the Remote Operation and Virtual Reality Centre (ROViR) development centre where the test equipment is located. ROViR develops industrial design and control systems, tapping the expertise of VTT and TUT's hydraulics and automation department. Remote operation and virtual technologies play a central role in the maintenance of the ITER reactor, but they also possess huge application potential for industry.
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