This International Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology is the fifth of a series which started in 1971 in Berlin. Thus, with SMiRT -5 the series is as it were, coming home again, and I should like to thank the Senate of the City of Berlin for acting as host once more.
The Conferences have throughout been truly international bringing together participants from some 30 countries. This is a reflection of the world-wide significance of the problems on which they have focussed; many of these problems are not just technological, they are also of direct relevance to nuclear safety. I am particularly glad that such issues are being discussed both thoroughly and openly.
SMiRT -5 will include in its program for the first time a division on the structural mechanics problems of fusion reactor plants. This is a sign of the times, it is a sign of the determination of a world dependent on energy for its economic and social development to free itself from the menace of shortage which goes with reliance on conventional sources. Quite generally, in a world which relies more and more on the optimal application of hardly-won knowledge it is conferences like SMiRT -5 which foster the exchange of many diverse experiences; they are not only themselves large clubs but give rise to more and more specialized informal groups as can be seen from the present draft program.
Member of the Commission of the European Communities