In Liège, a royal visit to the ITER stand

On Monday, 24 September, the 27th „Symposium on Fusion Technology” opened its doors in Liège, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium.

The „SOFT” conference is an important gauge for measuring the progress being made in the development of fusion energy. In its last edition in 2010, it attracted more than 1,200 participants, beating its own record — thus showing the increasing interest in the field.

As he visited the ITER stand, Prince Philippe expressed a strong interest in the project which was presented to him by ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima and Director of the Energy Directorate at the European Commission Hervé Pero.

ITER, as the spearhead approach to fusion energy, will be once more in the centre of the discussion in Liège. the ITER Director-General will be amongst the key-note speakers summarizing the status of the project, followed by representatives from various departments reporting on the latest developments in key design issues.

In two special satellite meetings the ITER Vacuum Team will present the ITER approach to vacuum quality and standards.

And, last but not least…don’t miss a visit to us at the ITER stand to watch the latest videos showing the manufacturing progress around the world and  of course— to get your free tokamak doughnut! 

Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT)
24 — 28 September 2012
Palais des Congrès
Esplanade de l’Europe 2
4020 Liège

Thick and strong

Work is progressing on the 6,000 m2 Assembly Building work site as 1,400 tons of reinforcement steel (rebar) are being laid on the blinding concrete, prior to the pouring of the „reinforced concrete foundation”.

This concrete slab, 2.2 metres thick at the perimeter and 1.2 metres thick in the centre, will support the 57-metre high steel structure of the building as well as the assembling tools that will be installed inside it.

As took place in the Tokamak Seismic Pit, the execution of the Assembly Building foundation has been divided into plots and concrete pouring, which began on Thursday 20 Septembre, will be done sequentially. Steel reinforcement for the last plot is to be completed around February 2013.

2,000 gather in Vienna for IAEA General Conference

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held its annual General Conference from 17 to 21 September 2012 in Vienna.

Over five days, close to 2,000 high-level governmental representatives from the IAEA’s 155 Member States gathered to consider and discuss a range of topics on the peaceful development of nuclear technologies related to the IAEA’s programs, focusing on nuclear radiation and waste safety; nuclear security; nuclear science; technology and applications; technical co-operation; and improving the efficiency of the safeguard systems.

ITER Director General Prof. Osamu Motojima attended the Conference as one of the Non-Governmental Organizations accredited by the IAEA — an opportunity to raise the profile of fusion and ITER in one of the largest energy gathering worldwide. 

At the opening of the 56th IAEA General Conference, the message from the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, was very clear: „We are also aiming for progress on the critical issue of nuclear terrorism. On 28 September, I will convene a United Nations High-level Meeting on Countering Nuclear Terrorism, which I hope will contribute to strengthening the rule of law in this field.”

In the conference’s opening session, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano focused on major developments in the IAEA’s work. „Today, the Agency is making important contributions to tackling fundamental global problems such as poverty and hunger, energy shortages, cancer and climate change. The Agency provides effective support to enhance the safe and secure use of nuclear energy in Member States.”

According to DG Amano, nuclear energy continues to develop: „When I became Director General three years ago, the talk was of a nuclear renaissance. Then the Fukushima Daiichi accident occurred, raising fundamental questions about the future of nuclear energy throughout the world. Eighteen months after the accident, it is clear that nuclear energy will remain an important option for many countries.”

However, safety is now a major issue for all countries. „The most important lesson that we have learned from Fukushima Daiichi is that we need a much more intense focus on nuclear safety. […] We have expanded the content of IAEA expert peer review services to Member States to include the first lessons learned from the accident. In December, the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, organized by the Government of Japan and the IAEA, will take place in Fukushima Prefecture. At this conference, we will present a report outlining the conclusions of the international expert meetings held so far. We will also prepare a comprehensive report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident, to be finalized in 2014.”

The IAEA’s Director General stressed the fact that there are 117 States with additional safety protocols and this number is still rising. This is encouraging because the additional protocol is an essential tool for the Agency to be able to provide credible assurance that there is no undeclared nuclear material and activities in a country. Nevertheless, there are still 13 countries without safeguard agreements.

DG Amano asked for these to be brought into force as soon as possible. „The IAEA should remain first and foremost a technical organization, although our work can have important political implications,” he concluded.

The 56th IAEA General Conference also provided Prof. Osamu Motojima with an opportunity to discuss with DG Amano and to meet with several delegations present in Vienna. DG Motojima and Head of the ITER Office of the Director General Takayuki Shirao successively met with M. Bernard Bigot, High Representative for the Implementation of ITER in France; with the representative of the Holy See Monsignor Branach; with Ambassador Toshio Osawa from Japan; with the Head of the Kazakhstan Delegation Mr Chatrikin and with the Ambassador of the Principality of Monaco Claude Giordan.

One more step towards the final green light

On 29 July, a new milestone was reached in the licensing process of ITER. A little more than one month after being notified that our proposals on the Tokamak’s operational conditions and design fulfilled the French safety requirements, we have now received from the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN)  the draft of the Décret d’Autorisation de Création — the final green light from the French Authorities to create our installation.
We are currently analyzing this draft and we will soon send back our comments to ASN. Then, a discussion will be organized with a college of ASN experts and at long last the final decree will be published — hopefully before the end of the year.

This is a lengthy, complex, demanding — sometimes frustrating… — process. But I must say it is also a very good process. ITER is the first fusion installation that will receive a full nuclear licence. And this is very important, not only for us here at ITER but for the whole worldwide fusion community.

We have always claimed that fusion is safe and in the past two years, we went through an exceptionally strict and challenging process to demonstrate that it is indeed. Now an independent body of experts, with a deserved reputation for being among the „toughest” in the world, is in the process of validating our claim. And again, this is a first: no fusion installation, not even JET or TFTR which, at one point implemented deuterium + tritium fusion, went through this process.

Twenty-seven years have passed since President Reagan and Secretary Gorbatchev met in Geneva and laid the ground for the project of an international experimental fusion reactor „for the benefit of all mankind”.

We all feel a deep satisfaction in seeing these 27 years of hard work and dedication now converging into a decision that, in many ways, is historical.

Workshop sheds light on complex ITER legal issues

Last Friday 21 September, the Director-General of the ITER Organization and the President of Aix-Marseille University opened, together, the first ITER Legal Workshop organized by CERIC (International and European Studies and Research Centre of the Faculty of Law of Aix-en-Provence) in collaboration with the Legal Affairs department of the ITER Organization.

This legal workshop was organized around exchange between the academic world and practitioners involved in the everyday life of the ITER Project; it was  a great opportunity to discuss the very complex issues related to the specific legal framework applicable to the project. 
Approaches of the academic world and of practitioners revealed to be complementary and fundamental, and this legal workshop enabled all participants to share and confront their experience and outlook for a better understanding of the law applicable to international organizations such as the ITER Organization.

It was also an opportunity to shed light on all the legal issues related to the creation of the ITER Organization and it helped to analyze ongoing and crucial legal issues the ITER Organization is confronted with on a daily basis. In particular, the discussions focused on the specificity of the law applicable to the ITER Organization (question of conciliation between the status of public international organization and the application of French law in certain fields such as nuclear safety, licensing and protection of the environment).

The morning session was devoted to presentations given by distinguished speakers concerning:
– ITER in the framework of international organizations
– The ITER Project and International Law
– The ITER Organization and the European Union
– ITER and France.

The afternoon was divided into three panels of discussion composed of ITER staff, scholars and practitioners concerning three different aspects of the ITER Organization’s legal framework:
– ITER Staff: Privileges and Immunities
– ITER, nuclear and environmental aspects
– ITER and Intellectual Property rights.

The proceedings of this workshop will be published in order to disseminate the fruitful information shared between all participants. This will be a very important step in writing the legal history of the ITER Project and in spreading information relating to the ITER Legal Framework.

Prior to the workshop, participants were given the opportunity to visit the ITER Site. They were able to see the tremendous progress on the construction and this enabled them to measure the scientific and legal stakes at play and the importance of the ITER Legal Workshop for a better understanding of the ITER Project.

The fact that the workshop was so successful shows the need for further collaboration between the ITER Organization and Aix-Marseille University to explore together legal issues raised by the specific legal status of the ITER Organization.

An ITER view from Down Under

Anisotropy… Bayesian interference… flow and chaos in fusion plasmas…, these are some of the topics that Matthew Hole, a fellow at the Plasma Research Laboratory of the Australian National University (ANU), discussed last week at a meeting with ITER physicists.

Down at ANU, 17,000 kilometres from the ITER site, the interest for fusion and for its international „flagship experiment” is strong. For years, the fusion community there has been active in trying to establish some official form of cooperation with ITER. The Australian ITER Forum, which Matthew Hole chairs, was created in 2006 to promote such an engagement.

In Australia, as in any other part of the world, a fusion physicist’s path always ends up crossing that of ITER. Individual involvements in ITER-related issues (such as Diagnostics, which is one major area of Australia’s fusion community’s expertise) are many but no formal, institutional, collaboration has yet been established.

„The fusion community there is eager to see Australia engage with ITER. But we are scientists, working in universities for the most part. What we need is an endorsement from the Australian government… and the necessary resources.”

The form this collaboration could take is open to discussion. „It is clear that Australia will not be a 'major partner’ like the present ITER Members,” says Matthew. „Australia has a rich diversity of energy options, so the national energy security driver is not perceived to be as strong.

The „frustration” Matthew acknowledges hasn’t dimmed his enthusiasm and he remains „passionate” about the whole issue. „ITER,” he says, „will define the fusion research program for at least the next generation. We want to be part of that enterprise…”

Last Wednesday in Cadarache, Matthew got his first opportunity to feel the reality of the project that has been on his mind for so many years. "The ITER site is huge," he said, "it is one thing to know the basics of the machine, but quite another to appreciate the size and scale of the entire site. What also struck me is the enthusiasm and helpfulness of the ITER staff, as well as the friendliness of the people of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille…"

The sheer size of ITER might dwarf that of the recently upgraded H-1 NF stellarator operated at ANU’s Plasma Fusion Research Facility, but if size matters, it is not all that fusion is about. Australia’s fusion device is small (major radius R=1.0 m), but the fusion community there is strong, enthusiastic and determined, and the country has a long history of breakthroughs and innovation in fusion research.

ITER Games — reloaded

You think that scientists spend their weekends solving equations? And that engineers lean over the drawing table? Wrong! This weekend, with the second edition of the ITER Games, the friendly competition for all those working on the ITER project and residents of Saint Paul-lez-Durance and Vinon-sur-Verdon, called them to the football field and the tennis courts and — for the first time — to the „rapids” of the Verdon river.

Click here to view the image gallery.
Click here to view the article in La Provence (in French).

Left column, right column and beyond

Whether you’re doing your home finances or running the Finance and Budget Division of an international organization such as ITER, you basically act on the same principles: what comes in goes into the column on the left; what goes out goes into the column on the right, and the total must be balanced.

Now of course, there are differences. Finances at ITER are a rather complex affair; the Organization is accountable to authorities such as the ITER Council. Its finances are audited twice a year by the Financial Audit Board and are published through its annual Financial Statements.

Like most, if not all, public organizations or private companies, the ITER Organization manages its finances within strict rules. One set of rules is internal and is called the "Project Resource Management Regulations (PRMR)"; the other is a set of international standards, specific to public entities — the "International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)".

Upon its inception, the ITER Organization voluntarily adhered to the 32 standards of IPSAS. However, some very specific aspects of the project’s organization, such as the nature of its contributions and assets or their valuations over time, were not fully anticipated by the experts who drafted the IPSAS.

In order to become more familiar with the IPSAS updates and their application to the ITER Organization’s specific accounting issues, the Accounting, Treasury and Systems Section of the ITER Finance and Budget Division organized a training session early this week (10-11 September). Professor Frans Van Schaik, a partner at the auditing firm Deloitte Netherlands, and a former Member of the IPSAS Board (2006-2011), and Juliette Nahon, a Public Sector manager at Deloitte France, came to Cadarache to further develop the internal IPSAS knowledge, and to share with the ITER Accounting staff their worldwide experience.

„The aim,” explains Senior Accountant Lionel Rigaux, „was to review the principles, applicability and disclosures required by the IPSAS and to optimize the way we implement them in order to strengthen our ability to produce high-quality Financial Statements leading to the Auditor’s certification”.

ITER "conductor community" meets in Moscow

The traditional International Conductor meeting was held in Moscow on 10-13 September, 2012. The regular meeting was attended by representatives from the ITER Organization, experts from the ITER Domestic Agencies of Europe, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia and USA, as well as specialists from the DAs’ suppliers.

Such meetings are particularly important since the ITER magnetic system, with conductors forming its core, is one of the ITER tokamak’s key elements. The manufactured conductors, which are designed to withstand super high current in continuous mode, have to meet the IO’s strict requirements.

At the moment, 10 out of the 11 conductor Procurement Agreements, are either well into the production phase or are completing the qualification/pre-production phase. This is particularly true for the Toroidal Field conductors, where 75 percent of the required Nb3Sn strands and one third of the cable-in-conduit conductor unit lengths have been completed. Also, a technical solution has been found for the Central Solenoid conductors that are being implemented by the ITER Japanese partner.

„This is a clear indication  that the ITER project is moving ahead and is able to keep schedule”, says the meeting’s Chair Arnaud Devred, ITER Superconductor Systems and Auxiliaries Section Leader.

In Devred’s opinion, „in spite of the difficulties of coordinating work with about 30 suppliers and six DAs around the world, the ITER conductor community has always tried to work in a cooperative and synergetic manner, and the conductor meetings have always been a great opportunity for sharing experience and tackling difficult interface issues.

The conductor meeting is also an opportunity to showcase the work done in the Russian Federation and for the DAs involved in coils procurement to visit the conductor production facility”. Russia is responsible for the procurement of 22 kilometres of conductors, destined for Toroidal field (TF) coils, and 11 kilometres destined for the Poloidal field (PF) coils of the ITER magnet system. TF coils include more than 90 tons of superconducting Nb3Sn strands; PF coils include 40 tons of Nb-Ti strands.

Arnaud Devred highly praised the progress achieved by the Russian suppliers saying that „The Russian Domestic Agency has now entered full TF conductor and PF cable production. It is a proactive partner, eager to play collectively and to assume its role within the ITER collaboration”.

The next regular meeting is planned for March 2013 in Cadarache.

In terms of development, is fusion really different?

There’s good and there’s bad in the public perception of what fusion is about. On the bright side, it is a „clean, safe, for all and forever” potential source of energy; on the not-so-bright one, it is „expensive and takes forever” — fusion energy as the worn-out joke goes, will always be 50 years away.

But is fusion development really different from that of other energy sources? In other words, how does fusion fit into „the spectrum of energy technology developments”?

Prof. Niek Lopes-Cardozo, a veteran fusion physicist and a professor at Eindhoven (NL) University of Technology was at ITER this Thursday 13 September to provide answers to this question.

The many graphs and figures he presented to the Inside-ITER audience demonstrate that all energy sources — fission, solar, wind, etc. — are governed by the same development model.

They all go through a phase of „exponential growth to materiality” during which no net energy is produced. This first phase can last 30 to 50 years during which the emerging energy source is a „niche market”, helped by public subsidies.

Whether the emerging source generates 10 MW of 100 GW of energy during that period doesn’t make much of a difference: it is still a fraction of the global needs, it „doesn’t save the world” and it doesn’t pay back the energy invested to bring it to „materiality”.

The second phase of any energy source development is characterized by a 30 to 50 year „linear growth” and this is when the new energy source becomes competitive.

Now where does fusion fit into that picture? A crucial factor in the transition from R&D (the present state of fusion) to „exponential growth to materiality” is the size of the capital investment. As demonstrated by Prof. Lopes-Cardozo’s figures, and contrary to widespread opinion, investment in fusion is quite low when compared to that of other emerging energy sources.

Take wind, for instance: global investment is presently in the range of EUR 100 billion per year; it is EUR 50 billion per year for photovoltaic and EUR 20 billion for concentrated solar power.

Compared to these numbers, fusion, with a mere EUR 2 billion per year is the poor man of energy research. „We should not pretend that we can go exponential with the present budgets allocated to fusion,” said Prof. Lopes-Cardozo.

Addressing „the heroes” of the „cornerstone project in fusion”, he insisted on the importance of „staying on the roadmap” and to keep aiming at bringing fusion power to the grid before 2060. This implies that „the spending on fusion will have to double every five years or so — as it does for other energy sources in development.”

Auditing is both monitoring and assisting

Not only is the ITER tokamak one of the most sophisticated devices ever conceived, it is also an unprecedented exercise in international cooperation. The inherent complexity of the machine combined with its nuclear status and the unique organization of its components’ production and manufacturing generates challenges of exceptional magnitude.

Most industries deal directly with their suppliers. It is not the case in the ITER project, where components are procured by the Domestic Agencies (DAs) that each of the seven ITER Members has established. However, it is the ITER Organization that holds the „ultimate responsibility” for the safety of the machine. Quality Assurance, which is standard practice in the industry, takes on a new dimension in this context.

„We need to both monitor and assist the DAs in measuring their level of compliance with the ITER project requirements,” explains ITER Quality Audit Manager Andrew Denyer. „We also need to have a clear view of everything that is being done throughout the whole chain of suppliers,” adds Lead Auditor Thierry Jourdan. „This is an absolute requirement from the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire, ASN) whose regulations the ITER Organization, as nuclear operator of the future installation, must observe.”

Quality requirements are an integral part of every Procurement Arrangement (PA) being signed between the ITER Organization and the DAs. Each PA specifies a number of „control points”, „notification points”, „hold points”, „witness points”, etc. which punctuate the manufacturing process of every component. A system as delicate and as complex as magnets, for instance, has more than one hundred such „points”…

In order to implement this stringent Quality Assurance policy, ITER auditors (a five-person team on average) have been dispatched at least once to the different DAs since 2009. Now that manufacturing has begun in earnest, Andrew hopes that audit missions can be organized on an annual basis.

 „The first visits we did to all DAs,” explains the ITER Quality Audit Manager, „aimed at making them aware of our requirements. Now that we’re returning, we’re seeing real understanding, and real enthusiasm to comply with the requirements the IO has set.” Thierry confirms: „The general feeling is that our requirements are duly taken into consideration and that they are communicated down the chain of suppliers.”

Lead Auditor Akko Maas, who was part of the recent audit mission to the Japanese Domestic Agency, insists that „auditing is not about telling the DAs what to do. It is not about finding non-conformities or pointing fingers; it’s about trying to help their staff optimize the way they work, in conformity with the requirements included in the PAs and Task Agreements”.

A typical audit consists first in checking that every required action has been taken and is documented. „At one point in the process, the DA has to do this or that,” explains Thierry, who headed the recent mission to Japan. „Our job is to check that 'this or that” has been done… So we check the documents and we can also check how the required action has been implemented by the supplier, like we did at Hitachi during our July mission to Japan.”

Audits of course generate some level of stress, both in the DAs and at the suppliers. „No one likes to be audited,” says Akko, „and this is something we have to take into consideration. We must be careful not to be intrusive and guarantee confidentiality. Again: auditing is not inspecting…”

An audit results in a report that usually includes a certain number of „Corrective actions”, „Corrective Action Requirements” or „Improvement Action Requests” that both auditor and audited agree upon. „What happens quite systematically,” says Thierry, „is that auditing a DA also results in Corrective Action Requirements or Improvement Action Requests for the ITER Organization. And we have to implement ours exactly like the DAs have to implement theirs.” According to Andrew Denyer, „some 15 percent of all the actions requested after a DA audit are on the ITER Organization…”

With a reinforcement of two new graduates, Andrew can now count on a team of eight Lead Auditors who will devote some 15 percent of their time to auditing DAs and also the different departments within the ITER Organization.

After the Japanese DA in July, Europe, China and the US are on their agenda, and will be audited before the end of the year.

500 students and a new director at Int’l School

Tuesday 4 September saw the start of another school year at the École Internationale Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (EIPACA), in Manosque, where students now number 500, some 45 percent of them being "ITER Children".

The newly appointed Director, Bernard Fronsacq personally addressed every class, welcoming them and stressing the important points in their curriculum for the coming school year.

Mr Fronsacq is a 40-year veteran of the French Éducation Nationale administration with a solid international experience. He spent more than 14 years in North America, having been posted in New York, Montreal and Washington, D.C.

In an interview with the regional daily La Provence, the newly appointed director was quoted as saying that he felt „privileged to be posted in a school that serves a major project for the future of mankind […] This adds an extra dimension to my mission — like being boosted by vitamins…”

Financed by the regional government of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur as part of France’s commitment to ITER, the EIPACA opened its doors to elementary school children in October 2009. Junior and senior high school students joined them in September 2010.

250,000 visitors at Korean Science Festival

Korea’s largest annual science exhibition, the "Korean Science Festival 2012" was held in the convention centre KINTEX in Il-San, north-west of Seoul, on 14-19 August 2012. Over 250,000 students, including their parents, got the chance to experience scientific programs ranging from climate change to energy.

The National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) showed the development of fusion energy by introducing KSTAR, the world’s largest existing superconducting tokamak, and ITER which aims to demonstrate that fusion is one of the answers to our future energy needs.

Through the use of plasma balls, staff from NFRI were able to explain in a simple way the nature and behaviour of plasma, the fourth state of matter. They also gave talks on the work being performed at NFRI, KSTAR and ITER.

The 2012 Korea Science Festival centered on the theme of 'Science and Creativity’ was celebrated by all, and the festival was clearly a success.

Leaving the convention centre with memories of a great experience, all the participants were looking forward to the one that will take place next year.

The ITER project at Forum Engelberg

Celebrating its 20th edition, the Forum Engelberg, a famous encounter of science and spirituality, last week looked at „tomorrow’s energy challenges” – a topic of „utmost importance”, as Abbot  Berchtold Mueller stated in his opening address held at the ancient abbey of Engelberg. For three days this idyllic Swiss mountain village was the picturesque backdrop for scientists, politicians, economists and clerics presenting and discussing various energy technologies, amongst them nuclear fusion.

Nestled in the spectacular snow-capped mountain ranges of central Switzerland, Engelberg has been a famous holiday destination for the rich and famous long before places like St. Moritz and Zermatt appeared on the tourists’ radar screens.

The organizers of the Forum Engelberg proudly pointed out that the conference’s location, the ornate „Kursaal”, was opened in 1902, „at a time when Zermatt didn’t even have a sewage system”.

But the fame of this remote mountain village dates back much further. It is closely related to the Benedictine abbey founded in 1120 which has perpetually been engaged in political and scientific debates. When, in 1989, the idea came up to find a philosophical equivalent to the big science of the Large Electron Positron Collider (LEP), the then largest particle accelerator which had just been switched on at CERN, the location for this event was soon found.

With energy challenges being the focus of the 20th Forum, and with representatives from the solar, hydro, wind and nuclear industries, and from the European Commission, gathered once more in the „Kursaal”, it was ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima who presented the ITER project and the quest to develop fusion energy.

Radial Plate prototype takes to the sea

The Russian captain has answered the question more than a thousand times but he obviously likes to tell the story: the Echion, his 3,000-ton cargo ship, owes her name to one of the Argonauts, the ancient Greek heroes who accompanied Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece.

The Echion docked last Saturday at the Mediterranean port of La Seyne-sur-Mer, 65 kilometres east of Marseille. The load she was to take delivery of sat just on the other side of the road — a 21st century highly sophisticated piece of equipment in a 19th century steel and red brick hall that Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) designed a century and a half ago.

The component was produced by Constructions Industrielles de la Méditerranée (CNIM), under a contract awarded by F4E, the European Domestic Agency for ITER, three years ago. Another European company, the Italian SIMIC S.P.A, also produced a Radial Plate Prototype using different technologies.

This approach enables the Domestic Agencies in charge of procuring the actual ITER components to select the best solution before the industry launches into series production — the 19-Coil (plus spare) TF system in ITER will require the manufacturing of 134 Radial Plates, 70 to be procured by Europe, 64 by Japan.

Radial Plates are D-shaped stainless steel structures with grooves machined on both sides, into which insulated superconductor cables are inserted at a later stage. They are 112 mm thick, weigh between 5.5 and 9.7 tons and measure 8.7 by 13.8 metres.

Each of the ITER TF Coils contains seven radial plates, five „regular” and two „side” plates arranged in „double pancakes”.

Once the Echion reaches Italy’s Ligurian sea, the radial plate prototype will be delivered to the ASG Superconductor plant at La Spezia where the 450 metres of conductor will have to be shaped according to the groove trajectory, then heat treated, electrically insulated and finally inserted into the grooves.

Loading operations at La Seyne began on Monday 3 September in the middle of the night. While traffic was closed off on the narrow coastal road that runs between CNIM and the port installations, the transportation frame containing the radial plate was delicately lifted and transported to a waiting area close to the Echion.

Early in the morning, operations resumed. Two cranes hoisted the 35-ton load onto the ship and carefully deposited it at the bottom of the cargo hold. Steel clamps were then welded directly onto the hold’s floor so that the load would be perfectly immobilized for the duration of the voyage to La Spezia.

By noon, the Echion was ready to sail. The Russian captain and his seven-man crew were optimistic: the weather report anticipated calm seas and clear sky for the  24 ahead — the time it would take to reach destination.

Click here to view a video of the operations.

V-Day "kissing" on the winding line at ASIPP

The winding line for ITER’s correction coils  located at the Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in Hefei, China has been busy these days with commissioning tests. Commissioning for this 44-metre-long, 15-metre-wide, 4-metre-high winding line began in July 2012.

Part of the commissioning process includes the winding of two 2×2 turn coils, one bottom-type correction coil and one side-type correction coil. On 23 August, the winding of the 2×2 turn bottom correction coil was completed and the coil was moved to the table for temporary storage.

The winding mould for ITER correction coils, assembled in three parts, was designed by ASIPP supplier JUNENG. The mould is aligned with structural adjustments built into the winding table that were made by ASIPP supplier KEYE Company.  The two side winding mould extensions are not needed to create the BCC coils.

In preparation for the next stage of commissioning—winding the larger side-type correction coil, the winding mould extensions were "kissed" together on 24 August, which is only one day later than the Chinese Valentine’s Day (7 July on the lunar calendar). Over the next few days the mould will be measured and any necessary adjustments made; it will then be ready for the  winding of a 2×2 turn side correction coil.

Both suppliers have been able to successfully coordinate with ASIPP and with one another, delivering quality work as well as expertise  to the winding line.

With the winding of the 2×2 turn bottom correction coil complete, ASIPP has achieved an important commissioning milestone. It hopes to complete the 2×2 turn side correction coil commissioning test in September, thereby laying a solid foundation for the winding qualification.

Welcome Office receives international recognition

The Welcome Office of the Agence Iter France has been shortlisted for The European Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards 2012 (The EMMAs) in the following category: Best Family Support Program.

A full list of all EMMA Shortlisted nominees is available for inspection here.

The next step of the process is that the Shortlisted Nominations will be assessed by an independent judging panel and the Awards presented to the winners and runners-up at The FEM Global Mobility Summit to be held in London on the 19th October.

After nearly six years of existence the Welcome Office has developed many programs in order to facilitate life in France for all Iter Organization expatriates.

From the Discovery Days to the Intercultural Language Programs, the aim has always been to make the transition into a new life easier, to raise awareness as to intercultural knowledge being essential to living in a foreign country  and to recognize and promote the essential role of the spouse/partner in the success of the Iter Project.

There is always room for improvement and this is an ongoing process at the Welcome Office. Being short-listed for this award is particularly satisfying as it grants more visibility to the efforts which have been made.