OF INTEREST: WEST newsletter # 5 just published

At Cadarache (south of France), the Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (CEA/DSM/IRFM) is modifying the Tore Supra plasma facility to become a test platform open to all ITER partners : the WEST project (acronym derived from W Environment in Steady-state Tokamak, where W is the chemical symbol for tungsten).

The goal is to equip the tokamak with an actively cooled tungsten divertor, benefitting from its unique long pulse capabilities, its high level of additional power and the unique experience of operation with actively cooled components.

Read the latest news from the WEST project in the attached document.

OF INTEREST: Kick-off-meeting for the WEST divertor coils power supplies

​SWIP (SouthWestern Institute of Physics in Chendgu, Sichuan) selected the NERCC company (National Engineering Research Center of Converters) to provide the two WEST divertor coils power supplies. The Kick off meeting was held in NERCC premises, located in Zhuzhou (Hunan, China), the 8th and 9th of April in presence of NERCC, SWIP and CEA project teams.

SWIP, as a WEST partner, provides the two power supplies for WEST divertor coils. These power supplies will be twelve pulses converters, rated ±300 V and +13 kA during 1000s every one hour (up to +20 kA during 10s every 20 minutes).

Read more in the attached document (WEST Newsletter # 5)

OF INTEREST: ITER Day in Moscow: attracting the best minds

On 21 May, directly after the regular class schedule, students, graduates and young scientists of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology had the chance to meet representatives of the Russian Domestic Agency. The exchange was organized as part of ITER Day to inform Russia’s future physicists about the international collaboration for fusion, progress in its implementation, and the ongoing activities in Russia carried out within its framework.

The head of the Russian Domestic Agency, Anatoly Krasilnikov, stressed that attraction of young scientists for fusion is based not only on the potential of the ITER Project, but also the national development program for the construction of a domestic fusion facility. 'This is the decades-long project and we need highly qualified personnel to work for it!’ ITER Russia is intensifying its activities to inform and attract the best minds.

During ITER Day, students heard about development work on a number of diagnostic systems for ITER (reflectometry, neutron diagnostics, optical systems) underway in Russian institutes where, the speakers stressed, employments opportunities exist.

OF INTEREST: Convoy passing through the Caronte canal

A six-kilometre-long channel, the Canal de Caronte, leads from the Mediterranean Gulf of Fos into the inland sea Étang de Berre. At its narrowest along the south shore of the island that encloses the old town of Martigues, its width does not exceed 25 metres.

On Monday 31 March, the barge carrying the 800-ton ITER test convoy deftly negotiated the canal and passed under the Martigues drawbridge, a spectacular sight that marks the entrance into the Étang de Berre.

Click here to watch a video of the passage produced by Agence Iter France.

OF INTEREST: Pulsing power into the machine

ITER’s Pulsed Power Electrical Network (PPEN) will supply alternating current (AC) power to the machine’s superconducting coils and heating and current drive systems. The Chinese Domestic Agency has full responsibility for the procurement of this powerful system; recently Manufacturing Readiness Reviews held at three industrial suppliers proved the high standards of design carried out so far and the readiness of the detailed work plans and execution processes.

In the presence of a large number of Chinese experts as well as representatives from the ITER Organization, reviews were held on six system sub-packages in April. For the technical issues identified, a work schedule has been established. A major step forward toward manufacturing has been achieved for the PPEN, which will distribute up to 500 MW of continuous power during operational pulses.

OF INTEREST: European labs to design the fast-ion diagnostic for ITER

​The European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, has signed a four-year Framework Partnership Agreement with a consortium formed by European research centres—DTU Denmark and IST-IPFN Portugal—for the development and design of the Collective Thompson Scattering diagnostic for ITER.

The primary objective of the Collective Thomson Scattering (CTS) diagnostic is to monitor fast ion behaviour across the plasma radius in seven locations. Fast ions are elusive particles that are a natural consequence of the fusion process and plasma heating techniques. Although they represent less than five percent of plasma density, fast ions carry up to one-third of the plasma’s kinetic energy. Optimizing their confinement within the plasma is important as they play a major part in sustaining the high plasma temperatures required for fusion by colliding with—and transferring their energy to—the 'bulk’ particles in the plasma.
However, fast ions behave unpredictably; while some remain within the magnetic field, others escape the plasma and reduce confinement, or ’cause mischief’ by contributing their energy to and amplifying plasma disturbances.
The CTS diagnostic system will consist of mirrors and antennas integrated into one of the equatorial ports of the ITER machine. The upper antenna and mirrors will launch a powerful, single and high frequency microwave beam (1 MW at 60 GHz, equivalent to 1,000 microwave ovens at full power) into the plasma and record the scattered electromagnetic waves through the lower mirrors and receiver antennas. These measurements will allow scientists to establish the dynamics and distribution of the ions in the plasma—in particular the fast ions.
Read more on the Fusion for Energy and the DTU Denmark websites.

OF INTEREST: Superconductivity and magnetism in Turkey

​Every other year, Turkey organizes the International Conference on Superconductivity and Magnetism (ICSM). On 27 April-2 May, the fourth edition of the conference was held in Antalya, on the southwestern coast of the country, gathering more than 1,000 scientists from all over the world.

At the special opening plenary session on 27 April, after a welcome speech by Annette Bussmann-Holder from the Max Planck Institute for Solid State, the next speaker gave a recollection of his long experience researching oxidesAlexander Müller, who earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1987 with Georg Bednorz, had just celebrated his 87th birthday and recalled having participated in the 1958 Geneva conference where the concept of tokamak was first discussed outside Russia. He is also the co-author of a patent on spherical plasma confinement.
Arnaud Devred, ITER Superconductor Section Leader, had the privilege of speaking just after Alexander Müller. His general presentation on the ITER Project focused on the magnet systems and detailed the present status of manufacturing. 'I sensed a real interest in ITER,’ he says, 'particularly from Prof. Ali Gencer, who chaired the conference and is a strong promoter of the project in government circles.’

OF INTEREST: Latest issue of 'Fusion in Europe’ online

Visit the EFDA website to read the May issue of Fusion in Europe on line.
Article highlights include the latest news on the establishment of EUROfusion—the umbrella organization of European fusion research that will succeed EFDA; upgrade work on the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST); this year’s work program for JET, currently the largest functioning tokamak in the world; and news from some of the younger faces of fusion.
Consult Fusion in Europe here.  

OF INTEREST: India and the historic global effort to find new energy

The energy source for the future is being incubated in Gandhinagar. Scientists of the city-based Institute of Plasma Research (IPR) are contributing to the heart of the world’s biggest tokamak fusion reactor, ITER. 

India is contributing to building the cryostat and vacuum vessel, which is the heaviest and the largest part of the ITER reactor where the fusion will take place. This is the biggest scientific collaboration known to humankind and will produce unlimited supplies of cheap, clean, and safe energy from atomic fusion. 

Read more in The Times of India.

OF INTEREST: 5 years, $2.5 million to explore hot edge of fusion plasmas

Physicist Brian Grierson of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has won a highly competitive Early Career Research Program award sponsored by the DOE’s Office of Science. The five-year grant will total some $2.5 million and fund exploration of the mechanisms that govern the formation and maintenance of the hot edge of fusion plasmas — the electrically charged gas that results in fusion reactions in facilities called tokamaks. The work will be carried out on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego.

Read more on PPPL website

NEWSLINE: ITER Robots: a laboratory for future engineers

Tusday 6 May was the final of the ITER Robots Contest, organized by Agence Iter France and the ITER Organization in collaboration with two French institutions—the Académie d’Aix-Marseille and the IRFM magnetic fusion research institute. For the second time running the city of Manosque was host to the competition, which has been run annually since 2012.
After nine months spent imagining, designing and programming their robots, ten teams—five from junior high school and five from high school—had the opportunity to put them to the test in front of a jury made up of professionals. 'Getting involved in this contest is a glimpse into the life of a remote handling engineer,’ says engineer Jean-Pierre Friconneau, who works in remote handling at ITER. Alain Bécoulet, IRFM director, agrees: 'The students tackled the kind of complex problem that we deal with every day of our professional lives in laboratory research.”
After a succession of time trials against the backdrop of cheers from some teams and sighs from others, students from the Gignac-la-Nerthe high school captured the victory with a robot called 'ITERmine premier” (ITER the First). A question of luck? Or rather a result of the hundreds of hours the students in engineering science had spent to bring their idea to fruition …
The junior high students had a tougher time, with all teams facing last-minute problems and re-programming before the junior high school from the village of Pélissanne carried the contest. Once again, the competition reflected reality. ”A remote handling engineer faces this kind of problem on a regular basis. You have a design that might work in your laboratory, but that requires reprogramming when it’s in situation,” highlights Delphine Keller from IRFM.
The successful third edition of the ITER Robots contest ended with a round of applause for all the engineers-in-the-making who participated in the contest. And who knows, see you soon in ITER!

OF INTEREST: Tokamak tales from the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy

Want to know what it’s like to work in fusion? In a new blog from the Culhan Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), graduate physicists and engineers lift the lid on life at Culham.
Tokamak Tales aims to show the world what the graduates get up to. What they do day-to-day, what exciting projects they are working on, and their experiences as a CCFE graduate.
Editor Ailsa Sparkes says: "The aim is to have an informal platform which is interesting to read for the public and for our staff. We are going to show you what it’s like to work at a major lab and what progress we’re making with fusion energy — we hope to both amuse and enlighten you! We’re looking forward to getting comments and questions, and we’d also welcome contributions from other fusion researchers."

OF INTEREST: Back to the future: are we about to crack energy fusion?

Can we harness the energy of an earth-bound sun? It’s a question that has obsessed and perplexed scientists for more than half a century. According to Professor Steve Cowley, director of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) and chief executive of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, it remains one of the "great quests" in science.

For the uninitiated, it’s the kind of big idea that makes your head spin: we’re talking about mimicking the process that powers the stars, heating hydrogen atoms to temperatures in excess of 100 million degrees celsius — the point at which they fuse into heavier helium atoms — and releasing energy in the process.
The creation of a self-sustaining reaction here on earth would be a revolutionary moment for humanity. It would mean we’d have a near-limitless source of energy that is clean, safe and cheap. The fuel used for fusion (two isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium) is so abundant it will effectively never run out; one kilogram of it provides the same amount of energy as 10 million kilograms of fossil fuel.
And while some fusion reactor components would become mildly radioactive over time, they should be safe to recycle or dispose of conventionally within 100 years, according to fusion experts.
Read the whole article on The Guardian website.

OF INTEREST: Tokamak Tales from CCFE

Want to know what it’s like to work in fusion? A new blog from Culhan Centre for Fusion Energy graduate physicists and engineers lifts the lid on life at Culham.
Tokamak Tales aims to show the world what the graduates get up to. What do they do day-to-day, what exciting projects they are working on, and their experiences as a CCFE graduate.
Editor Ailsa Sparkes says: "The aim is to have an informal platform which is interesting to read for the public and for our staff.
"We are going to show you what it’s like to work at a major lab and what progress we’re making with fusion energy — we hope to both amuse and enlighten you! We’re looking forward to getting comments and questions, and we’d also welcome contributions from other fusion researchers."