OF INTEREST: Industry Information Day for Assembly & Installation

​The ITER Organization is hosting an Industrial Information Day on 21 May 2015 to present the scope and the procurement program of the ITER assembly and installation phase.

The full-day event will include overview presentations on the management of the planned work scope, tender rules and regulations, and presentations on specific work contracts.

Follow the link to register on line before 8 May 2015.

OF INTEREST: 2015 Alfvén Prize in plasma physics awarded

The European Physical Society (EPS) has named Princeton physicist Nat Fisch winner of the 2015 Hannes Alfvén Prize, awarded for outstanding contributions to plasma physics.

Director of the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics and professor and associate chair of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University, Fisch received the prize for fundamental studies of wave-particle interactions and for predicting new plasma phenomena, including new ways of creating electrical currents using radio-frequency waves.
[…]
Fisch has been studying waves in plasmas for years and in many different contexts. 'the problem of using waves to transform energy in plasma from one form to another is one I returned to again and again during my career,' he said. In addition to pursuing how wave effects might make fusion energy practical, he is currently researching how to use plasma to reach the next generation of laser beam intensities.
Read the full article here.

OF INTEREST: Making the invisible…visible

​One of the biggest challenges facing fusion physicists is controlling the plasma inside a tokamak reactor.

 

Plasma — a gas of the fuels that are heated to start the fusion process — is difficult to keep stable, and seeks to escape the magnetic field that confines it within the machine. This results in 'instabilities' which make the plasma wobble and fluctuate, taking energy away from it and affecting the tokamak’s performance.

 
Decades of research on tokamak experiments worldwide has led to a deep understanding of a myriad of different plasma instabilities with exotic names (from Edge Localised Modes to Tearing Modes, Kink instabilities and Sawteeth). Just as importantly, researchers are developing methods to stop them occurring, reduce their effect or stabilise them altogether.
 
Amongst all these challenges has been the fact that most of these instabilities, certainly those deep inside the plasma, are invisible to high-speed camera videos — until now, that is. University of York PhD student David Ryan is currently working at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and he applied cutting-edge video magnification techniques to footage of plasmas in the MAST tokamak to see what would emerge.
 
Read more on CCFE website

NEWSLINE: Successful test of current lead prototypes in China

High Temperature Superconductor (HTS) current leads are key components of the ITER magnet system, transferring large current from room-temperature power supplies to very low-temperature superconducting coils at minimal heat load to the cryogenic system. The HTS current leads for the ITER Tokamak are procured by the Chinese Domestic Agency through the Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP) in Hefei, China.
 
Following the signature of the Feeder Procurement Arrangement in January 2011, ASIPP launched a string of activities to prepare for series production. These included the qualification of critical manufacturing technologies through targeted trials in mockups, which will conclude with the manufacturing and testing of several pairs of current lead prototypes this year.
 
Just in time for the Chinese New Year festivities, ASIPP successfully completed the test of a pair of correction coil 10 kA current lead prototypes. Many things had to fall in place to make this test possible. First ASIPP, under the leadership of Tingzhi Zhou, and its supplier Keye had to deliver the correction coil leads on schedule. Second, a large test facility—capable of testing the coil leads as well as other ITER components such as the correction coils and feeders—needed to be built and commissioned.
 
The ITER Organization contributed to the test with the delivery of a turn-key control system, including critical quench detection and interlock functions. ITER’s Coil Power Supply Section also contributed by delivering a set of flexible copper busbars. These contributions are in fact prototypes of systems that are being procured for the ITER machine, and for which tests in a machine-relevant environment are important steps in their development.
 
After two long weeks of testing Kaizhong Ding, from ASIPP, thanked not only the test team for the hard work, but acknowledged the valuable support provided by ITER’s control, magnet and power supply teams, which in the end allowed these tests to run smoothly and to be completed in time for a well-deserved rest over the Chinese New Year holiday. 
 
Toroidal field and poloidal field/central solenoid prototype leads are now in final stages of manufacturing and test results will be reported in Newsline soon.

NEWSLINE: Right on time for the eclipse

Coming from Santander, Spain, the convoy passed the gate to the storage area at the very moment the eclipse reached its maximum. As a dull, ashen light fell on the countryside around ITER, the truck and its load came to a halt — the first equipment procured by the European Domestic Agency, had safely reached its destination.

Manufactured by the Spanish company ENSA, the load consisted of a 100 cubic metre tank destined for the ITER detritiation system. It is one of two ’emergency tanks' — the second will be delivered in April — that will collect the tritiated water in case an abnormal situation develops during operations.

The tank that was delivered on 20 March will be the first Safety Important Component to be installed in the Tokamak Complex. 'The fact that the emergency tanks are being delivered now means that we will be able to install them before the next level is poured,' explained Manfred Glugla, head of the ITER Fuel Cycle Engineering Division.

Read more on the European Domestic Agency website.

NEWSLINE: A partially obscured fusion furnace

Once a plasma enthusiast, always a plasma enthusiast… Jean Jacquinot, former director of JET and of the French CEA Research Department for Controlled Fusion (and now an advisor to ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot) began his career in fusion in the mid-1960s. When he retired some forty years later he found himself a new passion: astrophotography. On Friday 20 March he took this striking image of our own familiar fusion furnace being partially obscured by the moon — note the small solar flare on the lower right of the Sun edge.

OF INTEREST: Culham science centre inspires artists

​Think science and art are poles apart? Think again. Three artists who have been inspired by nuclear fusion will display their work at the  "Making a Sun on Earth"' exhibition, which runs at the Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot, UK from 10 March to 26 April. And they hope their collaboration with Culham Centre for Fusion Energy will challenge people’s ideas about science.

Find out more here.

NEWSLINE: Inserting the ship into the bottle

Installing a divertor cassette in the ITER vacuum vessel will be like inserting a model ship into a bottle. Both operations require careful planning, dexterity and millimetric precision within severe space constraints. But where a model ship is meant to remain in the bottle forever, the 54 divertor cassettes need to be replaced at least once during ITER’s lifetime.
 
 
Like the old mariner’s bottle for the model ship, the vacuum vessel structure will provide the support for the divertor. As a consequence, the nine sectors of the vacuum vessel have to come first in the assembly sequence and be welded together before the installation of the divertor can begin. That leaves only three relatively narrow passageways into the vacuum vessel (the lower remote-handling ports) for divertor installation.
 
In 1994, when ITER was still in the early stages of its Engineering Design Activities, development began on the procedures, software and machinery capable of handling the delicate task of conveying the 54 segments of the divertor, called 'cassette assemblies,' through the port openings and into position at the bottom of the vessel as part of a perfectly circular arrangement.
 
At the time, the ITER machine, still a paper project, was twice the size of what it is today and each divertor cassette weighed 25 tons.
 
_To_93_Tx_The first Divertor Test Platform was established in the ENEA centre of Brasimone, Italy, under the auspices of the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA). As ITER was downsized to its present parameters (and divertor cassette weight had dropped to about 10 tons), the challenge was passed on to a team of international experts and a second Divertor Test Platform (DTP2) was established at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Tampere, Finland, some 180 kilometres northwest of Helsinki.
 
Three weeks ago, just as Finland was coming out of its long subarctic winter, twenty years of effort, ingenuity and technological innovation culminated in a final demonstration: the insertion of a central cassette mockup into (and removal from) its dockings inside of a 1:1 scale section of the ITER vacuum vessel.
 
Four years after having demonstrated the faultless exchange of two other types of divertor cassettes (standard cassettes and second cassettes), the loop had come to a close. 'This was the last operation that needed to be demonstrated and also the most challenging as the three central cassettes they must close the circular arrangement of the divertor assembly,' said Mario Merola, ITER Internal Components Division head, as clapping resounded in the vast hall that hosts the test stand.
 
_To_94_Tx_The event also carried a strong significance for the representatives of the European Domestic Agency for ITER, also present in the DTP2 hall. After years of European-financed R&D on the ITER remote handling systems (design, mockup fabrication and demonstrations), the time had come to pass the challenge on to industry — in June 2014, Europe signed a EUR 40 million contract with a partnership of laboratories and companies led by Assystem(2) for the design, manufacturing, delivery, on-site integration, commissioning and final acceptance tests for the ITER Divertor Remote Handling system.
 
In the DTP2 control room, a few steps away from the 20-metre-long cassette multifunction mover, VTT senior researcher Hannu Saarinen sits, eyes riveted to an array of screens. To his left, a large virtual image shows the progression of the cassette inside the narrow tunnel of the port; on smaller screens, below, numbers and figures scroll endlessly. Without a way to fit a camera into the tunnel, all information is based on sensors and virtual reality; without it, operators would be blind. 'More than 80 percent of the operation is pre-programmed,' explains Saarinen. 'We use the joystick only for small adjustments.'
 
Saarinen and his colleague Vesa Hämäläinen are sitting only a few metres from activity on the mockup. But they could as well be separated by millions of kilometres of space or thousands of leagues of ocean depth. 'This has been one of the biggest challenges of the operation: working with pure models without any visual connexion,' says VTT Executive Vice-President Jouko Suokas. 'But it has been an excellent platform to increase our competency in virtual reality and control software. This expertise is now being transferred to industry, which was one of the key reasons for our involvement in this project.'
 
In the 'laboratory conditions' provided by DTP2 in Tampere, the operation was a model of perfection. Years before the 54 divertor cassettes will be inserted into the ITER vacuum vessel, work is beginning now so that—in the industrial environment of ITER assembly—the same level of perfection is achieved.
 
(1) Assystem leads a team of well-known experts in the remote handling field, comprising the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, CCFE (UK); Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd, SMD (UK); VTT Technical Research Centre (Finland); and Tampere University of Technology, TUT (Finland).
 

NEWSLINE: Europe celebrates remote handling milestone

For Carlo Damiani—the European Domestic Agency’s Project Manager for remote handling systems—and his team this is a big day.
 
They have just arrived in Tampere, Finland to witness the final demonstration ITER divertor remote handling (see article in this issue). There is an unusual buzz in the facility and every protocol needs to be respected. The remote handling operators take their positions in front of the big screens. All eyes are glued on the monitors as the 10-ton mockup of a divertor cassette starts moving gracefully along the rails. Parameters scroll by indicating speed, angle and the time left to complete the task. On the screens the cassette emerges slowly, subtly lifted and finally locking into place. They did it!
 
For Salvador Esqué, following the project on behalf of the European Domestic Agency, it’s a feeling of relief and excitement. 'It’s almost like a camel going through the eye of a needle. Can you imagine the millimetric precision that is required and the weight that we are lifting and transporting? It’s really impressive.'
 
The test has been successfully concluded and Damiani is already thinking of the next steps. 'What [has been demonstrated] is the beginning of a brand-new technology chapter written thanks to ITER. We need to design and manufacture remote handling systems that are resistant, agile and precise. It’s an opportunity for industry, SMEs and laboratories to think out of the box, innovate in engineering, and shape the future fusion reactors.'
 
Europe’s contribution to ITER remote handling systems is in the range of EUR 250 million. The European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy, and its suppliers will have to deliver the divertor and neutral beam remote handling systems, the cask transfer system and the in-vessel viewing and metrology system.
 
Jouko Suokas, the Executive Vice President for Smart Industry and Energy Systems at VTT Tampere, host to the divertor test platform DTP2, was also present at the demonstration. After thanking his team, he commented: 'Playing a role in this big-science project has helped us to generate new know-how. To give you an example, we have developed new expertise in areas like mechanical engineering, manipulator arms, special tooling, control system software, virtual reality and so on…The potential spin-offs and expertise are some of the key reasons of our involvement. The possible industrial applications are widespread in the field of industry, such as in off-shore movable machine manufacturers, power plants or manufacturing.'
 
The European Domestic Agency will soon be publishing a video of the milestone demonstration at DTP2.
Read the original story here.

NEWSLINE: From the US, a better understanding of heat burst control

Researchers from General Atomics and the US Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have made a major breakthrough in understanding how potentially damaging heat bursts inside a fusion reactor can be controlled. Scientists performed the experiments on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, a tokamak operated by General Atomics in San Diego. The findings represent a key step in predicting how to control heat bursts in future fusion facilities including ITER.

The studies build upon previous work pioneered on DIII-D showing that these intense heat bursts—called 'ELMs' for short—could be suppressed with tiny magnetic fields. These tiny fields cause the edge of the plasma to smoothly release heat, thereby avoiding the damaging heat bursts. But until now, scientists did not understand how these fields worked. 'Many mysteries surrounded how the plasma distorts to suppress these heat bursts,' said Carlos Paz-Soldan, a General Atomics scientist and lead author of the first of the two papers that report the seminal findings back-to-back in the same issue of Physical Review Letters this week.

Paz-Soldan and a multi-institutional team of researchers found that tiny magnetic fields applied to the device can create two distinct kinds of response, rather than just one response as previously thought. The new response produces a ripple in the magnetic field near the plasma edge, allowing more heat to leak out at just the right rate to avert the intense heat bursts. Researchers applied the magnetic fields by running electrical current through coils around the plasma. Pickup coils then detected the plasma response, much as the microphone on a guitar picks up string vibrations.

The second result, led by PPPL scientist Raffi Nazikian, who heads the PPPL research team at DIII-D, identified the changes in the plasma that lead to the suppression of the large edge heat bursts or ELMs. The team found clear evidence that the plasma was deforming in just the way needed to allow the heat to slowly leak out. The measured magnetic distortions of the plasma edge indicated that the magnetic field was gently tearing in a narrow layer, a key prediction for how heat bursts can be prevented. 'The configuration changes suddenly when the plasma is tapped in a certain way,' Nazikian said, 'and it is this response that suppresses the ELMs.'

The work involved a multi-institutional team of researchers, who for years have been working toward an understanding of this process. These researchers included people from General Atomics, PPPL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Columbia University, Australian National University, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and several others.

The new results suggest further possibilities for tuning the magnetic fields to make ELM-control easier. These findings point the way to overcoming a persistent barrier to sustained fusion reactions. 'The identification of the physical processes that lead to ELM suppression when applying a small 3D magnetic field to the inherently 2D tokamak field provides new confidence that such a technique can be optimized in eliminating ELMs in ITER and future fusion devices,' said Mickey Wade, the DIII-D program director.

The results further highlight the value of the long-term multi-institutional collaboration between General Atomics, PPPL and other institutions in DIII-D research. This collaboration, said Wade, 'was instrumental in developing the best experiment possible, realizing the significance of the results, and carrying out the analysis that led to publication of these important findings.'

First page caption: Computer simulation of a cross-section of a DIII-D plasma responding to tiny magnetic fields. The left image models the response that suppressed the ELMs while the right image shows a response that was ineffective. (Photo by General Atomics)

Read the original article on the PPPL website.