Capping a session in Paris, the ITER Council has unanimously selected Pietro Barabaschi as the new director-general of the ITER Organization. The Italian-born Barabaschi, who has been involved in nuclear fusion research for some 30 years, was chosen to lead the massive international fusion project following an intensive recruitment effort necessitated by the death of Bernard Bigot, the previous director general, in May. Since Bigot’s death, Eisuke Tada has been serving in the role in an interim capacity. Barabaschi will take office in October.
F4E leader: Barabaschi has been the head of the Broader Approach Programme and Delivery with Fusion for Energy (F4E) since 2008. F4E is the EU organization responsible for Europe’s contribution to ITER. In this position, he has been managing the department that oversees three projects stemming from the Broader Approach agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the government of Japan: the JT-60SA tokamak, the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility/Engineering Validation and Engineering Design Activities linear accelerator, and the International Fusion Energy Research Centre . Barabaschi has also been acting director of F4E.
Other fusion experience: Prior to joining F4E, Barabaschi worked with the ITER International Team at the Garching/Munich Joint Work Site in Germany. With that team, he served as deputy to the project leader, as well as head of the Design Integration Division. Before that, he worked in the Design Integration Division with the ITER Joint Central Team at the San Diego Joint Work Site in California. Barabaschi’s first professional position in the fusion industry, in the early 1990s, was in the Machine Development Department with the Joint European Torus Project in the United Kingdom.
Immense responsibility: Following his selection as ITER director general, Barabaschi said he was “conscious of the immense responsibility” that he was taking on in his new leadership position. He added, “I will make it a priority to improve the integration of ITER Organization and domestic agencies, both essential elements of the ITER Project, now and even more in the forthcoming phases of commissioning of ITER.”