[Dateline: Geneva | Author: UNOG]
More than 800 scientists are attending this week the 22nd Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2008), an international scientific conference on fusion research, organized at the Palais des Nations in Geneva by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary since the second United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy.
Until 1955, fusion research was kept secret because of its possible military application. The “Atoms for Peace Conference”, held at the Palais des Nations in 1958, proved to be an important event for fusion research, as for the first time countries declassified their research and shared their results and experience. This promoted global awareness of the enormous challenges that nuclear fusion needed to overcome in order to one day serve as a practically inexhaustible and clean energy source for the benefit of all humanity.
With significant progress achieved in the field of nuclear fusion in recent years, FEC 2008 provides a timely forum to present and discuss current developments in fusion experiments, theory and technology.
Speaking at the opening of the Conference, UNOG Deputy Director-General Jan Beagle noted that with the Atoms for Peace conference, transparency and collaboration triumphed over secrecy and competition in the midst of the Cold War. The conference, therefore, not only provided a practical platform for scientists to come together, but it represented a lasting shift in mindset.
Ms. Beagle welcomed the participants’ continued commitment to sharing research and findings, exchanging information and transferring technology in the interest of all peoples.Noting that climate change, the global food crisis, rising energy prices and increasing competition for natural resources make it imperative to seek strategies based on science and technology, she stressed that the ability to build a safer and more prosperous world will depend on strengthening collaboration among all stakeholders and ensuring that the benefits of scientific and technological advances are evenly shared.
Additional information on the Conference and its programme can be found on the IAEA web site.