Designing an antenna the size of a bus

The Ion Cyclotron Resonance Heating (ICRH) system, one out of three heating systems installed in ITER, will deliver 20 MW of radio frequency power to the plasma for up to one hour. The power will be injected at radio frequencies through what we call „antennas,” however, ITER antennas have very little in common with the one attached to the standard radio in our kitchen. These components will measure 1.8 x 3.5 x 2.5 metres and weigh 45 tons (dry weight). And—who would have guessed—there is some very sophisticated technology hidden inside the beast. It is Europe’s responsibility to deliver two of these high-tech components to ITER. In 2010, the ITER Organization signed a Task Agreement with the European Domestic Agency (F4E) which, in turn, signed a contract for the „build-to-print” design of these impressive antennas with the CYCLE consortium, made up of several European fusion associations with ICRH expertise: CCFE, UK;  CEA, France; ERM, Belgium; IPP, Germany; and ENEA-Torino, Italy. On 22-24 May, more than 50 people—including experts on ion cyclotron radio frequency design, engineering, and physics; representatives from the European, Indian, and US Domestic Agencies; technical representatives from interfacing ITER systems; and, of course, members of the CYCLE design team—met in Cadarache to review the preliminary design. The review panel was chaired by Jean Jacquinot, former director of JET and one of the pioneers of the ICRH technology. The design of ITER’s ICRH antennas will be the quintessence of technologies developed for machines like Alcator C-mod, JET, Asdex-Upgrade, TEXTOR and Tore Supra. „The challenge in designing such an apparatus for ITER is not only the power increase to 10 MW for each antenna and the associated large electric fields,” Czytaj dalej...

A spectacular antechamber to the Tokamak Building

With its layer of soft soil removed, the ITER Assembly Hall work site looks a lot like the surface of an alien world. Fine white dust and sharp debris cover the ground. Methodically boring holes deep into the substratum, a lone, insect-like drilling rig adds to the illusion. With a bit of red in the sky it would be easy to believe we were walking on Planet Mars … Located adjacent to the temporarily deserted Tokamak Seismic Pit, the Assembly Hall area is the site of the latest construction campaign on the platform. This 60 metre by 100 metre rectangle of earth will host the 57-metre-high edifice in which ITER components will be assembled prior to their installation in the Tokamak. As a follow-up to the scrapers, excavators and dump trucks that removed some 10,000 m_SUPERSCRIPT_3_/SUPERSCRIPT_ of soil in three weeks, the drilling rig is carrying out „soil investigation.” Long drill bits are being pushed as deep as 7 metres below the surface in order to identify possible discontinuities or cavities created by water erosion (karsts). The rig will drill a total of 500 holes, collecting and transmitting data to the Engage/Fusion for Energy/ITER Organization team that manages the project. Geologists will then assess the rock profile and determine what treatment should be applied. A month from now, workers will begin to pour a layer of blinding concrete over the 6,000 m_SUPERSCRIPT_2_/SUPERSCRIPT_ surface. Foundation work will then begin in earnest. Although less spectacular than those of the Tokamak Pit (no seismic pads will be installed), the foundations of the Assembly Hall will carry their fair share of challenges. The basemat (2.2 metres thick at the perimeter and 1.2 metres thick in the centre) will have to accommodate openings, or „penetrations,” for electrical galleries, Czytaj dalej...

A spectacular antechamber to the Tokamak Building

With its layer of soft soil removed, the ITER Assembly Hall work site looks a lot like the surface of an alien world. Fine white dust and sharp debris cover the ground. Methodically boring holes deep into the substratum, a lone, insect-like drilling rig adds to the illusion. With a bit of red in the sky it would be easy to believe we were walking on Planet Mars … Located adjacent to the temporarily deserted Tokamak Seismic Pit, the Assembly Hall area is the site of the latest construction campaign on the platform. This 60 metre by 100 metre rectangle of earth will host the 57-metre-high edifice in which ITER components will be assembled prior to their installation in the Tokamak. As a follow-up to the scrapers, excavators and dump trucks that removed some 10,000 m_SUPERSCRIPT_3_/SUPERSCRIPT_ of soil in three weeks, the drilling rig is carrying out „soil investigation.” Long drill bits are being pushed as deep as 7 metres below the surface in order to identify possible discontinuities or cavities created by water erosion (karsts). The rig will drill a total of 500 holes, collecting and transmitting data to the Engage/Fusion for Energy/ITER Organization team that manages the project. Geologists will then assess the rock profile and determine what treatment should be applied. A month from now, workers will begin to pour a layer of blinding concrete over the 6,000 m_SUPERSCRIPT_2_/SUPERSCRIPT_ surface. Foundation work will then begin in earnest. Although less spectacular than those of the Tokamak Pit (no seismic pads will be installed), the foundations of the Assembly Hall will carry their fair share of challenges. The basemat (2.2 metres thick at the perimeter and 1.2 metres thick in the centre) will have to accommodate openings, or „penetrations,” for electrical galleries, Czytaj dalej...

Bringing ITER components to Cadarache

Planning has begun for the complex logistics task of bringing ITER components from factories on three continents to the ITER site in Cadarache. Following the selection of the European company DAHER as Logistics Service Provider (LSP) in February, a two-person DAHER team is now on site to pilot the initial planning phase of the LSP contract. Laurence Prudhomme, operations manager, and Barry Paul, planning manager, are working closely with the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies to collect the many thousands of pieces of information that will allow the DAHER „control room” to plan for—and closely follow—the delivery of ITER components according to the ITER project overall schedule. „The first phase of our mission is fact finding,” explains Laurence. „We need to gather detailed information on manufacturing schedules and on the specificities of each load to be transported. We need to look into ship availability, pairing the needs of each load (i.e., heavy lift) with the capacity of each vessel.” Working backwards from the dates the components need to be on site, DAHER will plan all the steps in the transport process—from arranging the specific point of contact where it will take over responsibility for each load, to final delivery. As LSP provider, DAHER is in charge of insurance, customs clearance, interim storage before delivery, handling and unloading on site. During the eighteen months of the planning phase, DAHER will be initiating import customs procedures with the French authorities, and—via its agencies and local partners—export procedures at each manufacturing location. DAHER IT engineers are currently adapting the company’s logistics and industrial flow management tool, DAgeSCOPE_SUPERSCRIPT_TM_/SUPERSCRIPT_ to fit the specificities of Czytaj dalej...

Bringing ITER components to Cadarache

Planning has begun for the complex logistics task of bringing ITER components from factories on three continents to the ITER site in Cadarache. Following the selection of the European company DAHER as Logistics Service Provider (LSP) in February, a two-person DAHER team is now on site to pilot the initial planning phase of the LSP contract. Laurence Prudhomme, operations manager, and Barry Paul, planning manager, are working closely with the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies to collect the many thousands of pieces of information that will allow the DAHER „control room” to plan for—and closely follow—the delivery of ITER components according to the ITER project overall schedule. „The first phase of our mission is fact finding,” explains Laurence. „We need to gather detailed information on manufacturing schedules and on the specificities of each load to be transported. We need to look into ship availability, pairing the needs of each load (i.e., heavy lift) with the capacity of each vessel.” Working backwards from the dates the components need to be on site, DAHER will plan all the steps in the transport process—from arranging the specific point of contact where it will take over responsibility for each load, to final delivery. As LSP provider, DAHER is in charge of insurance, customs clearance, interim storage before delivery, handling and unloading on site. During the eighteen months of the planning phase, DAHER will be initiating import customs procedures with the French authorities, and—via its agencies and local partners—export procedures at each manufacturing location. DAHER IT engineers are currently adapting the company’s logistics and industrial flow management tool, DAgeSCOPE_SUPERSCRIPT_TM_/SUPERSCRIPT_ to fit the specificities of Czytaj dalej...

The next six months will be crucial

There are good reasons why the European Union supports, and will continue to support, ITER. ITER is a major international project. It opens long-term scientific, technological and industrial opportunities, and it is in line with the European energy policy defined in the Energy Roadmap 2050 that calls for a low-carbon, competitive economy by 2050 and a 60 percent reduction of CO2 emissions in the power sector by 2030. Due to the many challenges of fusion energy—just look at the size of the investment in ITER—this is a project that could only be attempted at an international level. However, let’s always remember that fusion technology remains in competition with other technological approaches for energy generation. We therefore need to implement and stop losing time. We must bear in mind that we have been entrusted with public funds, which gives us an enormous responsibility towards the citizens within the ITER Members. Since the European Union has agreed to earmark funds for ITER through 2020 at the level of EUR 6.6 billion (of which EUR 2.3 billion is for 2012-2013), we have concerns regarding the schedule slippages that have occurred over the past several months. Slippages do not contribute to the positive image of the project; they also risk undermining the political support for ITER if they are not corrected soon. The next six months will therefore be crucial. Corrective actions on the schedule slippages, as they were proposed by the management of the ITER Organization during this week’s meeting of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC), show the right approach. There is a consensus among all ITER Members on the need to preserve the momentum of the project. It is also crucial to soon complete the design of the vacuum vessel and also to deliver the final set of design data for th Czytaj dalej...

The next six months will be crucial

There are good reasons why the European Union supports, and will continue to support, ITER. ITER is a major international project. It opens long-term scientific, technological and industrial opportunities, and it is in line with the European energy policy defined in the Energy Roadmap 2050 that calls for a low-carbon, competitive economy by 2050 and a 60 percent reduction of CO2 emissions in the power sector by 2030. Due to the many challenges of fusion energy—just look at the size of the investment in ITER—this is a project that could only be attempted at an international level. However, let’s always remember that fusion technology remains in competition with other technological approaches for energy generation. We therefore need to implement and stop losing time. We must bear in mind that we have been entrusted with public funds, which gives us an enormous responsibility towards the citizens within the ITER Members. Since the European Union has agreed to earmark funds for ITER through 2020 at the level of EUR 6.6 billion (of which EUR 2.3 billion is for 2012-2013), we have concerns regarding the schedule slippages that have occurred over the past several months. Slippages do not contribute to the positive image of the project; they also risk undermining the political support for ITER if they are not corrected soon. The next six months will therefore be crucial. Corrective actions on the schedule slippages, as they were proposed by the management of the ITER Organization during this week’s meeting of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC), show the right approach. There is a consensus among all ITER Members on the need to preserve the momentum of the project. It is also crucial to soon complete the design of the vacuum vessel and also to deliver the final set of design data for th Czytaj dalej...

Bringing fission to India and fusion to the world

Ranjay Sharan has a lot on his shoulders these days. A chief project engineer at the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), he is a key player in bringing his country’s nuclear plant capacity from a present 4,780 MW to a projected 63,000 MW in the next 20 years. And as the newly appointed chairman of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC), he presides over an assembly of experts and delegates whose mission is to provide recommendations to the ITER Council. While chairing MAC is not a full-time occupation, Ranjay still has to fit two jobs into every work day. „I complete my office job at NPCIL at around 7:00 p.m., go home and have dinner, rest for a moment, and then go to work for ITER for some three to four hours,” he says. „I don’t need to sleep more than five hours.” A fission engineer who has participated in some of the largest nuclear projects in India, Ranjay was one the first MAC members. „Since the first MAC meeting in May 2007,” he says, „I’ve seen all the ups and downs of the project …” Ranjay brings to ITER his expertise in project management. In 2004 he was awarded the Indian Nuclear Society medal by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India for his management effort in the construction of reactors 3 and 4 of the Tarapur Atomic Power Station, presently the largest nuclear plant in the country. Works were completed eight months ahead of schedule and with a 15 percent cost saving. The secret for such an achievement? „When you control the schedule,” he explains, „you control the cost. And the best schedule is the one you build from scratch with all latest rational and realistic inputs, not the one that is only based on past experience. That’s when you can really save time. You also have to be Czytaj dalej...

Bringing fission to India and fusion to the world

Ranjay Sharan has a lot on his shoulders these days. A chief project engineer at the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), he is a key player in bringing his country’s nuclear plant capacity from a present 4,780 MW to a projected 63,000 MW in the next 20 years. And as the newly appointed chairman of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC), he presides over an assembly of experts and delegates whose mission is to provide recommendations to the ITER Council. While chairing MAC is not a full-time occupation, Ranjay still has to fit two jobs into every work day. „I complete my office job at NPCIL at around 7:00 p.m., go home and have dinner, rest for a moment, and then go to work for ITER for some three to four hours,” he says. „I don’t need to sleep more than five hours.” A fission engineer who has participated in some of the largest nuclear projects in India, Ranjay was one the first MAC members. „Since the first MAC meeting in May 2007,” he says, „I’ve seen all the ups and downs of the project …” Ranjay brings to ITER his expertise in project management. In 2004 he was awarded the Indian Nuclear Society medal by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India for his management effort in the construction of reactors 3 and 4 of the Tarapur Atomic Power Station, presently the largest nuclear plant in the country. Works were completed eight months ahead of schedule and with a 15 percent cost saving. The secret for such an achievement? „When you control the schedule,” he explains, „you control the cost. And the best schedule is the one you build from scratch with all latest rational and realistic inputs, not the one that is only based on past experience. That’s when you can really save time. You also have to be Czytaj dalej...

75th Procurement Arrangement signed

An important step forward for the development of the 24MW electron cyclotron was achieved this past Thursday. During the 13th Management Advisory Committee meeting this week, the ITER Organization concluded its 75th Procurement Arrangement for the Electron Cyclotron High Voltage Power Supplies with the European Domestic Agency. The high voltage power supply forms the backbone of the electron cyclotron plant, providing up to 90 kV and 50A to each of the twenty-four 1MW microwave sources. The power supplies provide a high regulation of the applied voltages to actively control delivered power to the plasma based on the plasma requirements. The high regulation is based on the Pulse Step Modulation technique, which essentially stacks several smaller power supplies (or modules) in series. A rapid controller turns each module on and off to provide an accuracy of ±1 percent and modulation frequencies of up to 5kHz. The European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy will provide 8 of the 13 power supplies to be delivered to ITER; the remaining 5 power supplies will be procured by the Indian Domestic Agency. If all goes well, the Procurement Arrangement with India will be signed this summer. The first high voltage power supply is scheduled to arrive at the ITER site in late 2015. The ITER Organization has signed a total of 10 Procurement Arrangements in 2012: eight full Procurement Arrangements and two amendments. Czytaj dalej...

A new database tool for magnet production

One of the greatest challenges to monitoring the production of the large and complex components at the heart of the ITER magnet system is the quick and efficient exchange of quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) documents and data—important information that needs to be reviewed during the manufacturing process and cleared for acceptance by the responsible Domestic Agency and the ITER Organization. Following the successful implementation of the Conductor Database tool that tracked production data for the ITER conductors at six Domestic Agencies and their suppliers right through to final acceptance tests, it was decided to develop and implement a Magnet Manufacturing Database (MMD) on the same model. The Magnet Manufacturing Database will be the main tool for monitoring the QA/QC processes of the Procurement Arrangements for magnet coils, magnet structures and magnet feeders. This web-based application, integrated into ITER’s collaborative platform ICP, provides data and process integration with unified access and workflow. For the manufacturers, it offers an inventory control system with the possibility of integrating test result data and acceptance criteria functionalities, and of automatically generating barcodes and lot/serial numbers to facilitate tracking. For the ITER Organization, the workflow management system included in the database matches the control points defined in each Procurement Arrangement and the manufacturing processes defined in the Manufacturing Inspection Plan. References to ITER documents are included for procedures, instructions, and specifications … allowing the ITER Organization to identify and manage critical operations such as welding. The Magnet Manufacturing Database can manage any kind of complex manufacturing process chain, regardless of pro Czytaj dalej...