Press Release

30 May 2013

Representatives of the members of SESAME (Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey) met at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on 28-29 May for the 22nd meeting of the Council. Welcoming the Delegates, the Director General of IAEA Mr Yukiya Amano said "I am impressed by the way in which SESAME has managed to transcend political divisions and bring scientists from many nations together to collaborate on world-class research.....I have no doubt that the work of SESAME will have a significant impact in improving the lives of people in member countries. The IAEA is happy to assist you in your important work".

The Director of SESAME, Professor Khaled Toukan, reported that construction is progressing well. The Booster Synchrotron will be commissioned later this year and the new main ring, which is the heart of the facility, is technically on track for commissioning to begin in late 2015.

While the SESAME Council was meeting in Vienna, the European Commission and CERN (in a joint press conference in Brussels) announced that the EC has agreed to provide €5 million to fund construction of the magnets for the new main ring, which will be led by CERN with support from SESAME. This generous contribution, which brings the total provided to SESAME by the EC to over $10 million, was warmly welcomed by the SESAME Council.

During the Council meeting, Dr Fernando Ferroni, President, Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, announced that the Italian budget for 2013, which is awaiting final approval by the Parliamentary Commission, contains a €1 million contribution to SESAME. Welcoming this important development, Professor Toukan said: "With the voluntary contributions of $5 million each that are being provided by Iran, Israel, Jordan and Turkey, the generous support of the EU, the help of CERN, and the new contribution from Italy, SESAME now has almost all the resources that are needed to allow operation to begin in 2015 and the scientific programme to begin soon thereafter."

The SESAME Council warmly welcomed a delegation from China which, since the last meeting of the Council, had become a SESAME Observer. The Shanghai light-source contributes to SESAME's extensive training programme by providing visiting Fellowships for the young engineers who are building SESAME. The Council looks forward to closer collaboration with China in the future.

The Council elected Mr Tahir Saeed (Pakistan) as Chair of the Finance Committee and thanked the outgoing Chair Dr Salman M Salman (Palestinian Authority) for the excellent job he has done.

Following the Council meeting, IAEA hosted a special information session on SESAME which was attended by representatives of the Member States and Entities of IAEA. The President of the SESAME Council, Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS (Oxford University), closed the meeting by thanking the IAEA for hosting the Council meeting and the special session, and for its major contributions to the SESAME training programme.

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