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The 19th International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Fusion Energy Conference (FEC) was held in Lyon, France, on 14-19 October 2002. This series of meetings, which began in 1961, has been held biennially since 1974. In addition to these biennial conferences, the IAEA organizes co-ordinated research projects, technical meetings, and advisory group and consultants meetings on fusion research topics. The objectives of the IAEA activities related to fusion research are to:

The six-day Fusion Energy Conference 2002, which was attended by about 590 participants from over forty countries and international organizations, was organized by the IAEA in co-operation with the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA), Cadarache, France, to which the IAEA wishes to express its gratitude. A total of 410 papers, including the post-deadline papers, were accepted for presentation at the conference by the Programme Committee, which met in May 2002 and on the first day of the conference. A total of 399 contributions are published in these proceedings (including a welcoming address and the Artsimovich Memorial Lecture).

U. Finzi from the European Commission opened the Artsimovich Memorial Session (in honour of fusion pioneers) on Monday morning, 14 October 2002, followed by welcoming addresses given by D.D. Sood, Director of the IAEA Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences (on behalf of the IAEA Director General) and P. Fernandes-Ruiz, Director, European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy Research. The welcoming addresses were followed by a special lecture given by R. Pellat, High Commissioner, Atomic Energy Commission, Paris, France. In the afternoon, directly after the OV/2 Session, the French Minister of Sciences and Advanced Technologies, Ms. C. Haigneré, accompanied by the Mayor of Lyon, gave a welcoming address on behalf of the French Government. Social activities included a reception on Monday at the City Hall of Lyon, a public concert on Tuesday, a dinner evening at the Brasserie Georges on Thursday, and a public scientific evening on Friday.

Several satellite meetings accompanied the main conference, including an evening session on Wednesday devoted to the status of ITER, presenting the negotiation status of the project and its official site offers (Canada - Clarington; European Community, two sites: France - Cadarache and Spain - Vandellas; Japan - Rokkasho).

As decided by the International Fusion Research Council (IFRC), the next FEC will be held in Vilamoura, Portugal, on 1-6 November 2004 (see conference announcement), organized by the Instituto Superior Técnico, Centro de Fusão Nuclear, Lisbon, Portugal). Negotiations are under way for the 2006 and 2008 conference locations.

IAEA 2003