Neil Mitchell has been involved in fusion research and the early stages of the ITER Project for two decades. He came to Cadarache for the first time in 1985 when the then Head of Tore Supra, Robert Aymar, showed the young visiting engineer from “Angleterre” around the Tore Supra magnet system that was under construction.
With an engineering PhD in turbomachinery and industrial experience in gas turbine construction, Neil had come into contact with fusion research at the JET project in Culham in 1981. At that time, the RFX project—a tokamak with a radius of 2 m and a plasma current of 2 MA—was in the planning stages with the financial and scientific support of Los Alamos (New Mexico), US and Padova in Italy. The project was finally reassigned to Italy in 1984. Neil remembers: “The construction of JET sucked in all the money and squeezed the UKAEA’s domestic program.”