F4E Director nominee visits JT-60SA, meets with staff and stakeholders.

(L-R): S. Igashijima, S. Clement Lorenzo, M. Lachaise, Y. Carin, M. Hanada, G. Ramanaukas, JT-60SA facility, Naka, Japan, April 2023 © F4E

JT-60SA is the biggest fusion device to date until ITER becomes operational. It results from an international agreement signed between Europe and Japan, known as the Broader Approach, reinforcing scientific collaboration in the field of fusion through various projects. Its philosophy is that of an integrated project team, where different parties work as one around one goal-to improve our technical expertise in fusion.

After some time used for JT-60SA technical improvements, the teams on the ground are currently busy with commissioning activities. There is a buzz on-site in Naka, Japan, where the device is located, potentially for a restart of operations later this year. There is anticipation and enthusiasm, as during the last few years there has been increasing interest from public and private initiatives in fusion.

Susana Clement Lorenzo, Head of F4E’s Broader Approach Programme, Yann Carin, IFMIF/EVEDA Project Leader, and the Science Counsellor of the EU’s Delegation to Japan, Gediminas Ramanauskas, were part of the delegation welcoming Marc Lachaise, F4E Director nominee. During this informal visit, a guided tour was offered and the opportunity to meet with members of the team. The setting allowed for some meaningful exchanges with counterparts in Japan. Dr Ishida, Managing Director of QST (the National Institute for Quantum Sciences and technologies) Fusion Directorate, together with other managers and members of ITER Japan, highlighted the excellent partnership between QST and F4E both in Broader Approach projects and in ITER. Sam Davis, F4E’s JT-60SA Project Manager, described the machine and offered an update on the status. Marc Lachaise expressed his personal satisfaction for the efforts put by the different teams and praised them for their working method. He also had the chance to meet personally some F4E staff working in Japan to better understand their challenges and how they can be supported by F4E.

As the phase of exploitation is nearing, collaboration will be of paramount importance in raising more awareness about this success story, and its impact on bringing fusion energy a step closer.