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Media Corner
10 June 2015

The first ITER integrated team is here

Group photo of the Buildings, Infrastructure and Power Supplies Project Team with Bernard Bigot, ITER Director General.

One of the main commitments undertaken by Bernard Bigot, Director General of ITER, has been to promote the closer collaboration between the different Domestic Agencies (DAs) set up by the seven parties participating to the biggest fusion project-ITER. One way of achieving this is though the creation of joint teams, known as integrated teams, where colleagues from ITER International Organization (ITER IO) and the relevant DAs, contributing to a specific domain, will form a single team to work more efficiently together.

The Buildings, Infrastructure and Power Supplies Project Team (BIPS PT) is the first to reflect this new way of thinking bringing together 65 members of staff from two organisations. F4E has offered 38 members of staff working previously in the Project Team of Site Buildings Power Supplies, the Legal, Contracts and Procurement, Technical Support Services and Planning Units. From ITER IO, 27 colleagues have come from the Building and Civil Works section, the Electrical Engineering Division, the Central Integration Office, the Safety Analysis and Assessment Section, and last but not least the Plant Control and Instrumentation Section.
F4E’s Laurent Schmieder will head the team and his deputies will be Simon Sweeney, Laurent Patisson from ITER IO and Romaric Darbour from F4E.

Putting together the human resources in one pot will rationalise a number of processes. For example, any duplication in reviews and controls in this field will be eliminated. Approval and validation of the work will be given more swiftly. The supervision of contractors will be carried out more efficiently by fostering direct communication between them and the integrated team.

We spoke to Laurent Schmieder, the new head of the team to understand how things will work in practice. “The division of labour is based on the type of skills we have available in this team. If you look back you can see the seeds of this integrated method. For instance, look at the way we have been following contractors in the field of design. It has been a joint collaboration. What we want in essence to achieve is to create a new team culture where our organisational affiliation will no longer matter. We have developed a new team logo and lanyards to portray visually this fusion of teams. We are also planning a team building exercise towards the end of this month”.

With time the institutional links will fade away and the only thing that will matter will be our mind-set and skills. All team members have already relocated to the same floor in order to share the same premises and start working closely together. It is still early days to predict how things will pan out but just like in the past, all decisions will be discussed in length and taken in the interest of the project.

What will be the new priorities in the horizon? First, the new team will harmonise the administrative and quality issues in order to deliver with regards to the nuclear safety requirements. Furthermore, there is work to be done in the field of technical prescriptions of the facilities which will host the ITER Tokamak systems. Last but not least, new channels of communication will be laid down to promote a faster interaction between the different parties.