OF INTEREST: New year, new upgrades for JET tokamak

The JET machine area is a hive of activity as the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) prepares the facility on behalf of EUROfusion for its next run of experiments later in 2015.

The shutdown period is an opportunity for engineers to tune up key systems on JET and to install new components to improve the tokamak’s performance. This time round, the focus is on plasma fuelling and heating systems. The high frequency pellet injector, which propels frozen deuterium fuel into the JET plasma, is being optimized and repositioned to achieve more reliable operation. A refurbished antenna—the ion cyclotron resonance heating system, which produces radiowaves that resonate with the plasma particles and heat them up—will also be plugged in. JET’s antenna is similar to the one that the next-step ITER Tokamak will use. Bringing it back online will mean that experiments can simulate ITER conditions more accurately, and has the added advantage of helping to flush out impurities from the core of the plasma.

European fusion researchers are keen to see how the 2014 JET tests have left their mark on the machine. The shutdown is enabling CCFE’s team of remote handling engineers to remove sample tiles from the interior of JET so their condition can be analyzed. Inspecting the tiles will yield valuable information about how the beryllium and tungsten wall lining is being affected by its close proximity to the plasma (another hot topic for ITER). And a remote-controlled vacuum cleaner has been inside JET collecting dust which can also give pointers on the interaction between the plasma and the wall materials.

In a similar vein, a new high-resolution camera has just been taken into the JET chamber to photograph the tiles in the divertor region. In this area, as the name suggests, impurities and waste material are diverted out of the plasma, and the tungsten surfaces of the divertor are exposed to intense heat as a result. The photographic survey is giving scientists the most detailed pictures yet of the condition of this area of the machine.

Read the full article on the CCFE website here.

OF INTEREST: Reminder: ITER Business Forum in March

The ITER Business Forum 2015 (IBF/15) will take place in Marseille, France from 25 to 27 March 2015.

Already, 256 participants from 135 companies have registered to participate.

IBF/15 is a unique occasion for companies to approach the ITER Project and to investigate possibilities for involvement or partnership around upcoming tender offers.

Key project actors will present the status of systems. Twelve thematic workshops with presentations will be given by the ITER Organization, the procurement agencies for ITERthe Domestic Agenciesand key suppliers.

Visit the IBF/15 website for registration information.

OF INTEREST: EUROfusion actors meet in Switzerland

The JET and Medium-Size Tokamaks General Planning Meeting was held in January in Lausanne at the Olympic Museum. The conference was a major step towards the internationalization of the TCV tokamak at EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne).
The EUROfusion Consortium is the umbrella organization of all fusion research laboratories in Europe including Switzerland. Tasked with building the roadmap to ITER and DEMO, the prototype of a fusion commercial reactor, it provides the work platform for exploiting the Joint European Torus (JET) in the UK, sometimes referred to as 'little ITER.’ EPFL’s TCV tokamak carries out important experimental work in fusion, focusing on different plasma confinements and shapes. 
The Planning Meeting, organized by the Center for Research in Plasma Physics (CRPP), which runs the TCV, focused on proposals for experiments aligned with the EUROfusion roadmap and that could be performed in 2015 on the roadmap’s dedicated devices: JET, ASDEX Upgrade and EPFL’s TCV. Scientists presented their views of a comprehensive experimental strategy, which was discussed by the almost 150 senior scientists attending the conference.
The selected experiments will be performed on EUROfusion’s different devices by international groups of physicists. The plan calls for the TCV to be used for almost two months in 2015 and early 2016, while it will also continue to operate for EPFL’s own research goals, which are generally also aligned with the ITER roadmap.
The conference included a visit of the TCV, followed by a reception at the CRPP’s site.
Read the full article on the EPFL website here.

OF INTEREST: UK Minister sees an exciting future for Culham

Greg Clark MP, UK Minister of State for Universities, Science & Cities, visited JET on Friday 23 January to find out how researchers and engineers are bringing fusion power closer to reality.

Mr Clark met staff from EUROfusion — the European consortium that co-ordinates the research on JET — and CCFE, which operates the experiment on their behalf.
He heard about how JET, as the world’s largest magnetic fusion device, has a unique role in preparing for the ITER international research project, which when constructed will aim to prove that fusion can be a viable commercial-scale energy source.
During his tour he met CCFE engineer Chris Fowler (pictured) in the JET Remote Handling Unit. Chris gave the Minister a demonstration of the advanced remote handling technology that allows operators to maintain and upgrade JET without the need to send people into the device.
Remote handling and robotics was the main theme of the day, as Mr Clark officially started construction of Culham’s new RACE centre with a groundbreaking ceremony.
Read the whole article on CCFE website.

OF INTEREST: Panel ensures safe operation of NSTX Upgrade

Like a new passenger jet or power plant, the National Spherical Torus Upgrade (NSTX-U) must be certified safe to operate. At the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the task of evaluating the safety of the $94 million upgrade belongs to the Activity Certification Committee (ACC), whose work remains ongoing. 'This is a critical group,’ said Adam Cohen, deputy director for operations at the Laboratory. 'When you have a complex activity like the upgrade you need a standing committee to guarantee that it will run safely.’
For nearly two years the ACC has reviewed key components of the upgrade, which is scheduled for completion in March and will make the NSTX-U the most powerful spherical fusion facility on Earth. The group conducts hands-on inspections — or 'walkdowns’ — of all systems and subsystems and reviews training and pre-operational test procedures. 'It’s very vital and reassuring when the ACC says we’re ready to go,’ said Mike Williams, director of engineering and infrastructure and associate director of the Laboratory.
Read the whole story on PPPL website.

NEWSLINE: An unassuming name, a strategic building

Building 61, standing alongside the Assembly Hall, won’t be the largest, most complex or most spectacular building on the ITER platform. However despite its rather unassuming full name, the Site Services Building will be strategic for the whole installation.

The 80 metre-long building will accommodate and distribute a large number of industrial support services and systems that are indispensable for operating the ITER installation.

It will host one of the installation’s 'chiller plants,’ connected to a four-kilometre network of piping that will feed cooling water to buildings (for air conditioning) and equipment throughout the site.

A demineralized water plant (all cooling water systems use demineralized water), air compressors, a maintenance and instrumentation workshop, and storage facilities for non-radioactive waste will also be housed in Building 61.

Deep galleries running under the building will host a dense network of incoming and outgoing pipes and cables.

After weeks of excavation, rebar and formwork are in now in place and workers are presently pouring the gallery’s concrete slab.

Once completed, the steel structure building will stand just over 8 metres high. It will be equipped with rails to accommodate a heavy lift crane.

NEWSLINE: A warm welcome for the first heavy load

The journey had begun some 9,000 kilometres from the ITER site in the port city of Ulsan, Korea. The load had travelled by container ship, barge, trailer, and there it was: a large box of dull-grey steel, 20 meters long, 3.35 meters wide, 5 metres high and weighing close to 90 tons.
For a 'Highly Exceptional Load’ it was a relatively small item. But it was the very first in a long series of large and heavy components that will be delivered to ITER in the seven or eight years to come. With the symbolic importance of a 'first,’ it was greeted on the ITER site with joy and emotion.
Procured by the US, manufactured in Korea, transported by the ITER Organization’s global logistics partner DAHER, and placed—for the last leg of its journey—under the responsibility of France (and financed by Europe), the high voltage transformer was a potent symbol of the international cooperation for ITER.
A few hours after its arrival at 4:30 a.m., under a sky that was still pitch black, the ITER family assembled for a warm welcome. All had risen early: ITER senior management, the directors of several ITER Domestic Agencies, members of the ITER Electrical Engineering Division, and representatives of Agence Iter France and DAHER.
ITER Director-General nominee Bernard Bigot was also present.
’I want to thank you all for your contribution to today’s operation,’ said the ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima. 'ITER success depends on all of you who designed, procured, manufactured and safely transported and delivered this component.’
In the afternoon, the transformer was moved from the trailer to sit on concrete blocks in the storage area. Along with three similar components due to arrive in the coming months, it will be connected to the 400 kV switchyard. Bringing down the voltage to 22 kV, it will to dispatch power to the various plant systems of the installation.
The photo gallery from the SSEN Transformer journey can be viewed here.
Click to read the press release in English or French.

OF INTEREST: Recipe for success at the MAST tokamak

​Take one stainless steel tokamak component, bake in the oven for seven hours at 980 degrees C till it’s just right…et voilà — it’s ready to go into the fusion device.

Not quite that simple, but this is the procedure to eliminate unwanted magnetism from materials that will be installed in the vessel of MAST-Upgrade, the new UK fusion experiment that is being built at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE, UK).

Stainless steel is used because it is strong, cheap and can be non-magnetic. For MAST-Upgrade, the latter property is particularly important. In a tokamak, hot plasma fuel is confined using strong magnetic coils. So machine components with low magnetism are necessary to avoid perturbing the magnetic configurations and to achieve accurate measurement of the tokamak’s magnetic field. However, stainless steel as supplied can be slightly magnetic. If left untreated this would cause stray magnetic fields when MAST-Upgrade is operated and also make magnetic measurements less accurate.

Baking the steel reorders its crystal structure to reduce the extent to which it becomes magnetised without significantly affecting its other properties. Over the past nine months, various parts have been heat-treated in ovens at the Special Techniques Group workshop at the Culham site.

’It’s an effective method and although it might seem low-tech, there’s a hi-tech reason behind it,’ explains CCFE Work Package Manager James Foster. 'There isn’t one 'recipe’ that fits everything, so each component has a different formula — just like in baking at home.’

Read the original article on the CCFE website.

OF INTEREST: Register now for the ITER Business Forum 2015 in Marseille

The ITER Business Forum 2015 (IBF/15) will take place in Marseille, France, from 25 to 27 March 2015 with the participation and support of the ITER Organization and the ITER Domestic Agencies (in particular the European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy), the Industrial Liaison Officers (ILO) network, Agence ITER France, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Marseille-Provence.
Just like the events held in 2007, 2011 and 2013, the fourth ITER Business Forum will provide industry with updated information on the ITER Project and on procurement procedures and forthcoming calls for tenders (2015-2016). It also aims to facilitate industrial partnerships—around the ITER project and beyond—inside of Europe and internationally (for example: consortia to answer calls for tender, industrial partnerships, subcontracting, local support).
IBF/15 will include:
          an industrial conference with presentations given by the ITER Organization, Domestic Agencies and their main suppliers;
          one-to-one meetings on 26 and 27 March 2015;
          an optional program of technical tours on 25 March, including a visit of the ITER worksite;
          a welcome reception on 25 March in the evening and a gala dinner on 26 March at the venue.
Registration for participation in IBF/15 is now open here.

OF INTEREST: Collaboration with the Host Organization CEA

Since the early days of project implementation in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France, ITER’s closest neighbour and host—the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, CEA (Cadarache site)—has provided a number of services to the ITER Organization.

These services are provided within the framework of the Site Support Agreement, which was signed in 2009 by the two entities as foreseen in the ITER Agreement and its Annex on Site Support. Regular meetings of the Site Liaison Committee, bringing together representatives from both organizations, are the occasion to discuss pending issues, exchange information and review actions underway.  
On 10 December 2014, during the 10th Site Liaison Committee meeting, the ITER Organization and the CEA signed two agreements.
1.       Agreement on organizational modalities in the event of emergency situations
Agreement which defines the information, support and response modalities between the CEA/Cadarache and the ITER Organization in the event of any emergency liable to trigger, or not, emergency action plans.
2.       Agreement related to the management of environmental aspects on the ITER site
Agreement which defines the relations between the ITER Organization and Agence Iter France (the CEA agency created to manage the French contribution to the project) related to the environmental commitments undertaken by Agence Iter France, such as the definition of an environmental management plan for the 1,200 hectares on and around the ITER site.
This agreement entered into force on 10 December 2014 and is concluded for the duration of implementation of the environmental management plan (31 December 2032).
An aerial view of CEA-Cadarache site