27 – ITER’s $23B Fusion Project to Provide Cheap, Virtually Free Energy for the World with Director-General Bernard Bigot

FringeFM August 24, 2018

Bernard Bigot is the Director-General of the ITER Organization (@iterorg), an international fusion science and technology research facility based in France. Bernard has been closely associated with ITER since France’s bid to host the project in 2003 and Mr Bigot was delegated by the French government to act as High Representative for the implementation of ITER in France, a position that he has occupied since 2008.

Bernard has a long and distinguished career and has held senior positions in research, higher education and government. Prior to his appointment at ITER he completed two terms (2009-2012 and 2012-2015) as Chairman and CEO of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, CEA. This government-funded technological research organization—with ten research centres in France, a workforce of 16,000 and an annual budget of EUR 4.3 billion—is active in low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies, and health technologies.

From 2003 to 2009 Bernard Bigot served as France’s High commissioner for atomic energy, an independent scientific authority whose mission is to advise the French President and the French government on nuclear and renewable energy policy and in all the other scientific and technological domains where the CEA intervenes.

In his career as educator/researcher, Bernard also authored over 70 publications in theoretical chemistry and led research at the Ecole normale supérieure and Director of the Institut de recherche sur la catalyse, a CNRS laboratory specializing in catalysis research.

Bernard Bigot is a Commandeur in the French Order of the Legion of Honour, a Commandeur in the Royal Swedish Order of the Polar Star, and an Officer the French Order of the National Merit. In October 2014 he received the Gold and Silver Star in the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun..

“I’ve always been concerned with energy issues. Energy is the key to mankind’s social and economic development. Today, 80 percent of the energy consumed in the world comes from fossil fuels and we all know that this resource will not last forever. With fusion energy, we have a potential resource for millions of years. Harnessing it is an opportunity we cannot miss.”

ITER’s $23B Fusion Project to Provide Cheap, Virtually Free Energy for the World with Director-General Bernard Bigot

In our wide-ranging conversation, we cover many things, including:

  • The future of fusion and where we are headed
  • Why nuclear fusion still has not achieved net energy creation
  • How ITER is building the fusion reactor (tokamak) of the future to supply safe, clean energy for the world
  • The climate change problem and potential solutions to save us
  • Why fusion technology has taken so long see the light of day
  • The importance of governmental collaboration in large-scale scientific research
  • How fusion differs from “typical” nuclear power, ie fission
  • The implications of nearly free energy
  • Bernard’s thoughts on creating a star
  • Why fusion may be the most exciting technology that no one is talking about
  • The reason the US and Russia collaborated during the Cold War on fusion research
  • Why nearly all energy in the solar system isn’t accessible by conventional means