Who leads the JT-60SA project?

The JT-60SA Project Leader (PL) is responsible for the coordination of the implementation of the JT-60SA Project. The PL is appointed by the Broader Approach Steering Committee and is assisted by the Project Team, which comprises experts and other members, such as visiting scientists.

Hiroshi SHIRAI (QST), Project Leader as of September 2021

Born in 1960, Hiroshi Shirai entered the fusion community in the field of MHD instabilities in Kyoto University. Using a reduced MHD code, he compared computational results with those actually observed in the small tokamak “NOVA II” as an undergraduate student and with those in the Heliotron E plasmas as a graduate student. After he joined JAERI in April 1984, he started studying transport phenomena by using 1.5 dimensional transport codes. During his stay in PPPL in 1990-1991, he analyzed TFTR plasmas by using the SNAP code including “supershots”. He took his Doctorate at Kyoto University in 1994 on the basis of the transport studies in JT-60. As a member of the JT-60 experimental team, he proposed and implemented transport experiments. He was also engaged in non-dimensional transport and momentum transport studies of JT-60 plasmas.

In November 2003 he joined the Office of ITER Project Promotion in the JAERI Tokyo office for the negotiation of ITER site selection and ITER Agreement/BA Agreement formulation. After having experienced tough negotiation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for two and a half years, he took the role of a Japanese contact person for the ITER Project in April 2007 as the group leader of the ITER Project Promotion Group in Tokyo. In 2012 and 2013 he was the chairman of the ITER Council preparatory working group (CPWG). He also took on the role of BA Steering Committee Secretariat from June 2007 through October 2011.

He returned to Naka and joined the Satellite Tokamak Programme Project Team (PT) in April 2014. He was appointed as the Project Leader (PL) in July 2014 taking over the role from Shinichi Ishida, when the first pair of 40° VV sectors were about to be welded on the cryostat base. At that time major components and systems of JT-60SA were steadily being manufactured in Europe and Japan. As the PL, he visited a lot of institutes and manufactures responsible for procurement of TF coils, EF coils, CS modules, high temperature superconductor current leads, cryogenic refrigerators and tanks, cryostat vessel body cylindrical section, thermal shields, various kinds of power supply systems and so forth. He directly witnessed the impressive progress of how they had been designed, tested, manufactured, delivered, assembled and commissioned.

After handing over the role of the Project Leader to Yutaka Kamada in April 2018, he left the Project Team and went back to join the ITER business. He took the roles of Vice-Chair and Chair of the ITER Council Management Advisory Committee from January 2018 to December 2021. He came back to join the PT again in September 2021 as the 5th generation of the PL.

Koji TAKAHASHI (QST), JA Home Team Leader

Koji Takahashi is a research scientist on microwave heating technology for fusion devices. In 1994, he started his carrier at Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, currently National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology (QST) to join the development of high power RF sources, so-called gyrotron for fusion plasma heating.

He also involved with the development of transmission line components such as antennas and waveguides for JT-60U and ITER.

He was responsible for design and development of the RF power injecting antenna for ITER from 1998 to 2015 and completed the antenna reference design. He also took the responsibility of ITER gyrotron procurement from 2016 as a group leader of RF heating system and completed manufacturing of all eight gyrotrons.

He has involved in JT-60SA project since 2021 as the Deputy Director, Department of Tokamak System Technology and managed the project as JA Home Team Project Manager since 2022.

Enrico DI PIETRO (F4E), EU Home Team Leader

Enrico Di Pietro is a mechanical engineer who has devoted most of his professional life to the design, manufacturing and technological development of experimental devices for controlled nuclear fusion.

He started in 1985 in the ENEA Research Centre of Frascati where as a newly recruited junior engineer he had the privilege to participate in the construction of the second Italian high field tokamak, the Frascati Tokamak Upgrade (also known as FTU). It was already apparent then that the development of magnetic confinement controlled fusion had chances only if pursued as a large international effort due to the size and cost of the devices and their technological development.

He then got involved in the development of technologies necessary for the next step of fusion devices and he soon became the head of the technology division of the ENEA Fusion Department.

From 1996 to 2001, he worked for ITER and the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA) contributing mostly in the area of the mechanical design of the neutral beam injection system. When the ITER project was finally released for construction in 2007, he took the responsibility of the ITER site preparation.

In 2008, he moved to the JT-60SA project where later he took the role of Deputy EU Project Manager and F4E JT-60SA Unit head. Since 2017 he has been the EU Home Team Project Manager.

Former Project leaders

Masaya HANADA (QST), Project Leader from 2020 to 2021