OF INTEREST: Size matters in European materials project

Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) is one of the partners in a materials research project that has recently been awarded significant European funding.
The project will explore techniques that can accurately examine engineering components at a range of sizes and scales — right down to the nanoscale analysis carried out in Culham’s Materials Research Laboratory (MRL).
To get a consistent picture of the properties of a material, researchers need to examine it at different length-scales. This new study will look at how changing the specimen size or the size of the probe used for testing affects the measured engineering properties. Test methods or design rules can then be developed that compensate for such 'size effects’.
It is hoped that EU companies can use the results to design and manufacture better components with longer life and lower energy use. The work will also benefit the fusion and fission research sectors, where smaller samples represent less of a safety risk when examining the condition of components.
Led by the National Physical Laboratory, the project consortium brings together major industry players such as EDF, AMEC, AWE and Tata Steel with universities and research institutes around Europe. The grant of ~€1.8M has been made by European Association of National Metrology Institutes (EURAMET).
Read more on CCFE website.

OF INTEREST: EAST auxiliary heating system pass review

From the  February 2015 issue of EAST newsletter

EAST auxiliary heating system, consisting of 4MW Neutral Beam Injectors (NBI) and 6 MW Lower Hybrid Current Drives (LHCD), which has passed the national acceptance review, is officially stamped 'well qualified’ to be put into operation. This is a conclusion of a 32-expert acceptance state panel, chaired by Chinese Academy of Sciences vice president ZHANG Yaping, who met at the Academy of Sciences Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP) for the final review and acceptance of this Large Research Infrastructure Project on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015.

 The acceptance panel, authorized by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), commended the project construction 'with high quality, within budget and one year ahead-of- schedule,’ after listening and examining the technical acceptance reports on the engineering, construction and safety, machinery and equipment, finance and documentation and a field inspection.

 Approved in 2008, EAST auxiliary heating system construction began in November 2011, to be finished in four years. Now with this additional heating power to enable high-level plasma physics research, EAST enters its second phase.

 Aiming at long pulse plasma discharges, a series of experimental techniques have been developed on EAST in recent years. Tremendous efforts have been made during past two years to enhance the EAST capabilities; nearly every sub-system except superconducting magnets has been upgraded or modified to enable higher performance and truly steady state operation. In the coming experiment, 4 MW CW 2.45GHz and 6MW 4.6GHz LHCD systems, 12MW CW ICRF system with wide band frequency of 24-70MHz, 8MW 50-80keV NBI system, 2MW ECRH of 140GHz together with nearly 80 diagnostics will be ready.

 As always, EAST is open to all world fusion communities. During the next 10 years, together with KSTAR, JT-60SA, WEST and LHD devices, EAST will be an important experimental test bench for conducting ITER related steady-state advanced plasma science and technology research.

OF INTEREST: European fusion and fission education networks enter cooperation

On February 3, 2015, FuseNet (The European Fusion Education Network) and ENEN (The European Nuclear Education Network) signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the General Assembly meeting of FuseNet that was held at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. It marked the start for further cooperation between the European fusion and fission education networks.
ENEN, the European Nuclear Education Network, is older than FuseNet but in many ways similar. As the nuclear aspects of fusion energy become more prominent – ITER is truly a nuclear device – the need to provide fusion students and engineers with proper education and training in this field becomes ever larger. Likewise, nuclear engineers are in high demand in the fusion enterprises now, and they may benefit from a fusion training.
Prof. Walter Ambrosini (President of ENEN, left) and Prof. Niek Lopes Cardozo (President of FuseNet, right) sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the two networks.


Read more on FuseNet website.

OF INTEREST: Our own familiar fusion furnace

February 11, 2015 marks five years in space for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which provides incredibly detailed images of the whole sun 24 hours a day. Capturing an image more than once per second, SDO has provided an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massive explosions on the sun grow and erupt ever since its launch on Feb. 11, 2010. The imagery is also captivating, allowing one to watch the constant ballet of solar material through the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. 

In honor of SDO’s fifth anniversary, NASA has released a video showcasing highlights from the last five years of sun watching. Watch the movie to see giant clouds of solar material hurled out into space, the dance of giant loops hovering in the corona, and huge sunspots growing and shrinking on the sun’s surface. 

The imagery is an example of the kind of data that SDO provides to scientists. By watching the sun in different wavelengths — and therefore different temperatures — scientists can watch how material courses through the corona, which holds clues to what causes eruptions on the sun, what heats the sun’s atmosphere up to 1,000 times hotter than its surface, and why the sun’s magnetic fields are constantly on the move.

View the video on NASA website.

OF INTEREST: IBF/15: Doing business with ITER

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

Already, close to 400 participants from 200 companies have registered to participate. (A real-time update is available here.)

The agenda is now finalized and includes 14 theme workshops bringing together more than one hundred speakers from the ITER Organization, the procurement agencies for ITERthe Domestic Agenciesand key suppliers. 
Registration for one-to-one meetings, either 'business to business’ or 'business to customers,’ will open in a few days.
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.

Visit the IBF/15 website for more information.

OF INTEREST: ITER featured at conference in Zvenigorod, Russia

The 42nd International Zvenigorod Conference for plasma physics and thermonuclear fusion was held on 9-13 February, near Moscow, Russia.

At this annual event, experts from inside Russia and from abroad gather to discuss recent achievements in the areas of high and low temperature plasma research, controlled fusion, and developments in plasma and beam technologies.

Part of the conference is traditionally devoted to progress in ITER. In the presence of Anatoly Krasilnikov, head of the Russian Domestic Agency, representatives from ITER Russia and from the research centres and industries involved in the project gave more than 50 oral presentations and reports on the first day of the conference on the progress in ITER procurement and manufacturing. Topics included the magnet system, in-vessel plasma-facing components, and diagnostic instruments.

The presentations generated wide interest among the members of the expert community, including representatives of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the State Corporation Rosatom and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

— Alexander Petrov, ITER Russia

OF INTEREST: Could bubbles lead to fusion?

There is, perhaps, an alternative [to magnetic and inertial fusion]. When liquid undergoes rapid changes in pressure, cavities can form — seemingly from nowhere, but usually around some kind of impurity or imperfection in the fluid. The changing pressure causes this cavity to expand and contract: this is a bubble, and its method of creation is known as cavitation. In particularly violent pressure fields, the bubble can contract so quickly and with so much force that it collapses entirely, producing a shock wave. This phenomenon’s what causes the dramatic pitting on boat propellor and water pumps, where high fluctuating pressures causes bubbles to form and collapse.

But in the controlled environment of a laboratory, the bubbles can do more than cause damage. Way back in 1934, at the University of Cologne, H. Frenzel and H. Schultes turned of the lights in their laboratory, put an ultrasound transducer in a tank of photographic developer fluid, and turned it on. They were hoping to speed up the development process of photographic film — but instead, they noticed dots of light that appeared for a split-second at a time This was the first evidence of a process called sonoluminescene, where the large quantities of energy generated by a collapsing bubble cause light to be emitted. And where there’s light, there’s energy.

Read the article on Gizmodo Australia website.


OF INTEREST: "Now I can believe that ITER will be successful"

​On an icy and sunny morning, a delegation of engineers, designers and design office coordinators from the seven Domestic Agencies went down into the Tokamak foundations for a technical visit.

Part of the CAD (Computer Aided Design) Working Group, the 15 members of the delegation were on site for the 13th CAD Working Group Workshop that took place at ITER Headquarters from 27 to 29 January.

The group was warmly welcomed by Laurent Patisson, Section Leader for Nuclear Buildings, who took them for a one-hour tour to the heart of the ITER platform: the foundations of the Tokamak Complex.

After a first glance from the belvedere—the viewpoint from the northern corner of the Tokamak Complex worksite where visitors are usually taken—the group went onto the Tokamak Complex floor (the B2 slab), which was icy in some places due to a recent cold snap. 

Although the delegation was more than familiar with the design and the drawings of the ITER facilities, for many it was the first time on site. Philippe Le-Minh, Design Office coordination officer, was particularly thrilled to 'feel all the activity going on,’ while Pierre-Yves Chaffard, head of Technical Support Services for the European Domestic Agency, remarked that it is 'always interesting to see with our eyes, what we are used to seeing through our computers.’   

As the group returned to ITER Headquarters for the rest of their meetings, Geun Hong Kim, Design Office team leader for the Korean Domestic Agency, summed up the general feeling: 'Now I can believe that ITER will be successful.’

— Julie Marcillat

OF INTEREST: WEST Newsletter #8 available

The Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research, ITER’s neighbour in Saint Paul-lez-Durance, has published issue #8 of the WEST newsletter.

The issue features a report about the integration of WEST into the EUROfusion ITER Physics Programme, progress on the calibration of diagnostics in the machine, and the test deployment of a WEST inspection robot inside of the EAST tokamak.

WEST stands for (W Environment in Steady-state Tokamak), where "W" is the chemical symbol of tungsten. The Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research is modifying the Tore Supra plasma facility to become a test platform open to all ITER partners.

Read the eighth issue of the WEST Newsletter here.