LIPAc accelerator prototype installation begins in Japan

The IFMIF/EVEDA project is advancing. Concurrently with the accomplishment of the Intermediate Engineering Design report of IFMIF, the installation of LIPAC, the Linear IFMIF Prototype Accelerator has now started in Rokkasho, Japan.

The commissioning of LIPAc within the Broader Approach Agreement between Japan and EURATOM aims to demonstrate the technical feasibility of the IFMIF accelerator designed to operate two beams of deuterons at 125 mA with 100 percent duty cycle to obtain a source of fusion-relevant neutrons equivalent in energy and flux to those of a fusion power plant.

IFMIF will be capable of providing >20 dpa/fpy (displacements per atom/full power year) with neutrons with a broad peak at 14 MeV allowing, within a few years of operation, the characterization of suitable materials for the first wall of the reactor vessel, together with the acquisition of data from fusion-relevant neutrons that will help material scientists unravel the underpinning physics.

LIPAc is under design and construction mainly in different labs in Europe under the coordination of the European Domestic Agency (F4E), and will be installed in Japan by a joint team from Europe and Japan. On its own, with 1.125 MW of average beam power, LIPAc will lead the world ranks of high current accelerators. Its commissioning will be the responsibility of IFMIF/EVEDA Project Team, led by Juan Knaster.

After the successful performance during the individual system tests carried out at CEA (Saclay) in November 2012, the ion source and the low energy beam transfer have been delivered to Rokkasho and the installation activities have now started. An upgrade of the survey network in the accelerator hall was deemed necessary following a study by F4E to meet the alignment precision of 0.1 mm of certain components; an essential factor given the unprecedented beam current. The fiducialization upgrade will install 120 new additional fiducials and a permanent pillar, which will allow the placement of the laser tracker anywhere in the accelerator hall within uncertainties below 0.03 mm. This activity will be performed in Rokkasho by a team led by Luigi Semeraro (F4E) and the collaboration of JAEA during the third week of June.

The validation of the accelerator prototype, together with the success of other constructed prototypes related with the Target facility and Test Facility in Europe and Japan within the time allocated for IFMIF/EVEDA will support the start of construction of IFMIF whenever the fusion community demands a fusion-relevant neutron source.

Construction kick-off for Tokamak Complex

Early on Tuesday, 30 April the usual hustle and bustle on the fifth floor of the ITER Headquarters came to a short halt as ITER management gathered in front of a video camera to participate remotely in an event taking place at the European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy (F4E) in Barcelona. An event marking another milestone in the project’s history book: the kick-off meeting for Tender Batch 03, which is project code for the contract covering the construction of the Tokamak Complex plus another eight support buildings.

The Tokamak Complex will be a seven-storey reinforced concrete building with a steel-frame crane hall and a total mass of around 335,000 tons. It comprises the Tokamak Building plus the adjacent Diagnostic and Tritium buildings.  All three are connected and supported by a common basemat.

In addition to the Tokamak Complex, another eight buildings will be erected within the frame of the TB03 contract over the next 66 months, as well as 60 nuclear doors that will provide containment and radiation shielding during ITER operation and maintenance and three bridges. The scope of work comprises all civil works, heavy doors supply and implementation and finishing works.

The preparation for Tender Batch 03 began with a competitive dialogue in July 2011 and concluded with the award of the contract to the VFR consortium on 20 December 2012. The VFR consortium brings together VINCI Construction Grands Projets, Razel-Bec, Dodin Campenon Bernard, Campenon Bernard Sud-Est, GTM Sud and Chantiers Modernes Sud as well as the Spanish company Ferrovial Agroman.

„The start of this contract is one of the most important ITER milestones, as building construction is the main driving force of this project,” Director-General Osamu Motojima stated in his remarks following opening words from F4E Director Henrik Binslev. „This kick-off meeting will be recorded in the history of the project and fusion research,” Motojima went on, before he welcomed the Vinci consortium as „a new and important member” of the ITER team. „We are very much looking forward to working together closely. It will be my great pleasure to witness the daily progress from my office window.” 

Read more about the kick-off meeting on the F4E website here

Progress on stage and behind the scenes

The ITER site has undergone significant transformation in the past year. Following the completion of the Seismic Isolation Pit for the Tokamak Complex in April 2012, attention was turned to site infrastructure works such as the deep drainage networks, critical networks, the creation of a platform Contractors Area (from where the different construction work packages will be managed), and finally the foundation for the Assembly Building. These projects are now in their final phases.
As the focus returns to the heart of the ITER platform—the Tokamak Pit, where concrete pouring will resume this year—we asked Laurent Schmieder, project manager of the division for site, buildings and power supplies at the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy (F4E), about the state-of-works on the platform and what we can expect to see in the months to come.

A new phase of construction is about to begin. Can you describe what has been accomplished on the ITER platform since the last major milestone of Seismic Isolation Pit completion?

A lot! In the last six months, our teams have focused on the construction of the Assembly Building foundation slab, an activity that required some excavation, much reinforcement and, since November, concreting work. The Assembly Building slab is about 95 percent complete and will be finished early June. Second, we oversaw the excavation for the deep rainfall drainage network and the installation of hundreds of metres of sizable (two-metre diameter) concrete pipes. These works caused major upheaval on the platform—currently, as we backfill and level, the mountains of dirt are slowly disappearing. Finally, we have erected Contractors Area 2 on the northwest corner of the platform. This area will host contractor workshops, a canteen to deliver 1,500 meals per day, and an infirmary for the welfare of the workers. We have had approximately 250 workers on site these past months; another 200 people in the offices are preparing construction drawings and finalizing ongoing calls for tender. In the next six months, you can expect to see the bottom slab (B2) of the Tokamak Complex take shape. We will also finalize the deep networks and continue the realization of technical galleries around the Tokamak Building.

The European Domestic Agency is responsible for the construction of 39 scientific buildings and dedicated areas on the ITER platform; before each project can start, tender offers have to be launched and contracts awarded. What is the status of contracts?

At F4E, we label our work packages by Tender Batch (TB). Last December we signed Tender Batch 03 (TB03) for the construction of the Tokamak Complex and auxiliary buildings, one of our largest contracts in the area of the civil engineering works. In 2012 we also signed TB08 for site infrastructure works—together, TB03 and TB08 represent a value of EUR 350 million. Before summer time, F4E intends to sign for over EUR 500 million in contracts with the planned signature of TB02 (handling items, such as cranes, within the Tokamak Building), TB04 (mechanical and electrical installations), TB05 (the design and construction of the magnet power conversion and reactive power control buildings), TB07 (the design and construction of the cold basin and cooling towers, pumping stations and heat exchangers), and finally TB06 (external power supply equipment and installation. What it’s important for you to know is that these contracts cover the entire „buildings scope” except for the Hot Cell Facility, radwaste building and three surrounding buildings.

As you can see, we are making tremendous, behind-the-scenes progress. Each contract signature signifies that the tender design period is over and that the baton is being transferred to the contractors. But each signature is also an important and visible signal for the ITER project of progress made in construction.

The contract for Tokamak Complex construction (and all surrounding buildings) was kicked off on 30 April 2013 in Barcelona (see related article in this issue). After an introduction by F4E Director Henrik Bindslev and ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima, all of us—F4E, ITER Organization and F4E’s Architect/Engineer Engage—reminded the contractor consortium of the provisions of the contract and invited them to formally to start the works. The first phase of the contract will include the approval of quality documents, the selection of workers, and preparatory works (worksite, workshop, and welfare facilities). During the second phase of works, the consortium will deliver the detailed construction drawings. We are expecting construction works to begin early in 2014.

With all of the distinct work packages planned for building ITER, how will you manage the organization of the site in the years to come?

Most of the Tender Batches will be organized in separate areas on the platform and be managed in parallel. Where that is not the situation, as in the case of transversal packages TB06 (electrical distribution) and TB08 (roads and tunnels), each contractor will be responsible for the coordination of the work on its own area but general supervision and coordination will be closely followed by the following key actors: Apave, for health and safety coordination, and Engage, for the technical supervision.

In 2014, F4E expects to have approximately 2,000 workers on the platform, all contracts combined. And from that moment forward, the construction site will be a hive of activity for years! On top of the challenge of keeping to schedule, we will pay very particular attention to health and safety. F4E will also be implicated in the overall organization and coordination of the construction site because—despite the general impression that the ITER site is very large—in actual fact we will see that, progressively, all pieces of available land will be used by the contractors. In this context, access control and space management will be key elements to be able to optimize the schedule.

The F4E building team, with the support of Apave, Energhia* and Engage, will represent a workforce of around 200 staff dedicated to the follow-up and the monitoring of something close to EUR 1 billion of investment on the ITER platform over the next five years.

* EnergHIA, which provides support to F4E, is a consortium that includes IDOM (Spain), Halcrow (UK) and Altran (Spain/France)

IBF 2013: Galvanizing industry for ITER

One of the principal objectives of the ITER Business Forum is to promote industrial partnerships for ITER in Europe and abroad between primo-contractors to the project (Level 1), and potential subcontractors (Level 2 and beyond). The 2013 edition of IBF, held on 21-22 March in Toulon, attracted over 700 industry representatives from 24 countries.
Two weeks after the event, it’s interesting to step back and assess the Forum’s success. Were the companies that attended already known to the project? The statistics are now in. Of the 386 firms or organizations represented at IBF/13, a third (115) are Level 1 project contractors and another 97 have worked as subcontractors (Level 2, …). When questioned, over 80 percent of companies expressed their objective to become (or remain) primo- or sub-contractors for the project.
We asked participants whether, in their view, the Forum was an efficient medium for companies to form business relationships and partnerships for the ITER project. 

Pascale Dauguet, Scientific Market Manager and International Expert for Air Liquide Advanced Technologies (France): „The exchanges we had with members of the ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency F4E were fruitful, and gave us a good idea of the current status of the project. IBF/13 also offered our purchasing and project responsible officers the opportunity to meet new potential suppliers. We will now analyze the capacities of these suppliers with a view to optimizing our outsourcing. The contacts we formed are potentially very valuable to us, for our work for ITER but also for other Air Liquide Advanced Technologies projects. Having all of these actors in one place for several days was very useful!”

Kyung-Ho Park, Project Manager for Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (Korea): „It was very significant for the representatives of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (HHI), the largest industrial company in the world, to be present at the IBF/13, which was quite well organized. HHI is manufacturing two sectors of ITER vacuum vessel as contractor to the Korean Domestic Agency and also the toroidal field coil sturctures (TFCS) which was awarded by the Japanese Domestic Agency. In the progress of manufacturing these core components of the ITER project, HHI has prepared and equipped various facilities and workshops tailored for ITER. HHI has also experienced many trials and errors, which have resulted in the acquisition of important knowhow and technology. We hope this kind of experience and knowhow can be used for project improvement and development in order to achieve expected results in the nearest future.”

Jean-Luc Borel, Regional Director for KSB SAS (Germany): „Now in its third edition, IBF has become indispensable for the actors of the ITER project, especially the industrial companies. We were able to hear the latest on the project from the ITER Organization, from the European Domestic Agency, and from representatives of diverse areas of industry who are potential clients for an equipment supplier like KSB. The information we learned from the presentations was of a practical nature and immediately exploitable in terms of potential opportunities. The IBF/13 event brings together and federates the suppliers engaged in this complex scientific and industrial project. What’s more, the communication tools developed by the French Industrial Committee (C2I) allow us to remain in touch with the project between two editions of IBF. As a potential Level 2 actor of the project, we were favourably surprised by the success and the quality of the one-to-one meetings that we participated in. Two examples: a meeting with an important French group—already a contractor for ITER (and a client of KSB’s for valves )—became the opportunity to learn about current tender offers and opened our eyes to new regional associations. Our exchanges have continued beyond IBF in Toulon, and visits are planned. A second meeting with a group based in the PACA region has resulted in possible pump activities for KSB beyond the scope of ITER. As a last note, I would have to mention the quality of all the informal discussions that I was able to have during IBF/13…"

Michèle Debret, Major Project Commercial Manager for APAVE (France)
: "For APAVE, already heavily involved in the ITER project through contracts with the ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency, IBF/13 was an excellent opportunity to consolidate and develop our exchanges with industrial companies and institutions working with the project. The event stands out for the following reasons: the quality of contracts, the international dimension of the Forum, the presence of high-level representatives of the ITER Organization and Industrial Liaison Officers, and excellent organization. In effect, a number of the industrial firms present had well-defined expectations for the partnerships they hoped to form for contracts underway or tender offers to come. Our exchanges were oriented toward practical opportunities for doing business together. Also, it is rare to find such an international selection of top industrial companies in one place—our interaction with them was extremely valuable, even beyond the scope of ITER. The movement around ITER is accelerating; component fabrication is underway all over the world. For APAVE, specialized in quality and risk management, important opportunities are ahead. IBF/13 acted as a galvanizer for industry around ITER and we are pleased to have participated.”

Jean-Claude Cercassi, Business Development Manager / ITER & Large Scientific Instruments for CNIM Industrial Systems (France): „IBF/13 was particularly rich in people contacts—the five representatives of CNIM attended quite a number of conferences and obtained more than 40 meetings with ITER actors, partners and potential suppliers. I was impressed by the efficiency of the one-to-one meetings—the subjects were well defined, well prepared and a concrete plan of action resulted from most. It’s true that the ITER project has reached maturity: 3D models are now being replaced by components and companies like CNIM have concrete projects to share and offers to build based on industrial partnerships. The ITER Business Forum has accompanied the project since its beginnings and the maturity can be felt—the conference program was consequential and the business meetings well organized. Perfect! Thanks to its implantation in Toulon and the fact that it was awarded the radial plate contract by the European Domestic Agency, CNIM was in the spotlight during IBF/13—for this I’d like to thank the organizing team. The ITER Business Forum is now a „must” for CNIM, because it contributes directly to the expansion of our activities for ITER and for fusion.”

_To_46_Tx_Ruben Moreno Zubelzu, Business Development, ENSA (Spain): "Participation in IBF/13 was a success for ENSA. After the conferences, the number of contacts with potential subcontractors or potential partners for new business opportunities increased significantly. The contract with ITER has been an opportunity for ENSA to participate in a project with international repercussions, working together with top-level technological companies.”

Thomas MARTY – Project Manager ITER, ASTARE – Engineering Services, Westinghouse Electrique France (France/USA): „This year was the second time I attended the ITER Business Forum. Once again, the event was very fruitful. It was a great opportunity to get an update on project progress and learn about the future calls for tender planned by the ITER Organization but also the European and other Domestic Agencies. Westinghouse had many requests for one-to-one meetings and we were not able to answer all of them positively, although we established several very interesting contacts which I hope will lead to future cooperation around ITER or for the other activities of Westinghouse in France and the rest of the world. The previous IBF in Manosque led us to win the ITER Organization framework contract for design engineering and CAD services. We hope the contacts we have established and the information we have collected this year will also turn into similar achievements. In the context of such an active procurement phase for the project, I think many of this year’s attendees are looking forward to another IBF next year.”

Civil engineering contract will change platform face

The ITER site is set to go through one of its biggest transformations, following the signature by the European Domestic Agency F4E of a contract for site infrastructure works with COMSA EMTE.

Under this contract, for a value of EUR 35 million, a variety of civil engineering works such as lighting, drainage, special foundations, roads and trenches will be carried out. Eighty people will be deployed on the ITER site in order to ensure the coordination of the activities and reconfigure the 500,000 m² that will be directly affected by the works.

The civil engineering works carried out through this contract will deliver to the ITER site a fully integrated drainage system (process discharges, precipitation drainage and sanitary drainage), outdoor and indoor lighting, a water management system, service trenches for networks between buildings, roads and parking areas, and special foundations to support equipment and site installations.

A components cooling water network will be built to transfer heat from the systems for heat removal, operating side by side with the heat rejection system that will buffer heat loads during operation through an open loop system consisting of cooling towers, cold and hot basins, water pumps, valves, sensors and interconnected piping.

Read the full story on the F4E website here.

Crowning the cryostat from below

Columns are as old as civilization: for thousands of years, they have provided architects and engineers with a simple and sturdy solution to support heavy loads while leaving room to move around on the ground below.

This traditional and reliable solution was to be implemented in ITER: a circular arrangement of 18 steel columns was to support the cryostat ring—the thick steel component that acts as a mechanical interface between the combined mass of the cryostat and Tokamak (25,000 tons) and the Tokamak Complex basemat.

Columns do a great job supporting large, static loads. However under particular circumstances during ITER Tokamak operation, mechanical, magnetic, or thermal loads, singly or combined, could add up to generate considerable stress on the columns.

In the case of a vertical displacement event, for instance, the Tokamak could „up-lift”; in the case of a cryostat ingress cooling event, the cryostat could „shrink”…

Once refined, models and simulations showed that under certain conditions the load transfer to the basemat by way of the columns was not totally satisfying. For ITER Safety Security and Quality (SQS), this was clearly a potential safety issue. „As the Tokamak Complex basemat could not be modified, it was imperative to develop an alternate solution to the columns. In this, the expertise of Design Integration Section was fundamental,” explains head of the ITER Licensing Cell Joëlle Elbez-Uzan.

Thus began, early in 2012, a ten-month collaborative effort involving ITER’s Safety, Quality & Security; Building and Site Infrastructure; Technical Integration; Cryostat; Assembly; Safety; and Magnet teams, as well as the European Domestic Agency F4E and their Architect Engineer, Engage.

„The light eventually came from  Engage’s design project leader, Peter Sedgwick,” recounts ITER’s Nuclear Buildings Section leader Laurent Patisson. „He suggested we mobilize the resistance capacity of the three-metre-thick concrete bioshield wall that surrounds the cryostat—something we had not fully investigated …”

The exceptionally thick and strong bioshield, which stands approximately three metres away from the cryostat, held the solution indeed. „The idea is to replace the 18 steel columns with a concrete 'crown'. Every 20 degrees, the crown would be connected to reinforced concrete walls radially anchored into the bioshield. It’s a clever and efficient solution to distribute the efforts evenly…”

Faced with a similar problem, the architects of Notre Dame Cathedral, in the 13th century, developed a similar solution. „By positioning flying buttresses at regular intervals around the Cathedral’s nave, they were able to evenly distribute the loads of the edifice’s walls, explains Joëlle.

In the ITER Tokamak however, every design modification is bound to impact other components. Designers soon realized that one of the radial walls connecting the crown to the bioshield was competing for space with the magnet feeder for poloidal field coil number 4.

An early option called for compensation by way of a set of concrete beams. „However such a singularity in the crown support system would have made the structural capacity demonstration difficult,” explains Laurent.

Working closely with the Magnet and Technical Integration Divisions and the Building & Site Infrastructure Directorate, a solution was eventually reached, which resulted in the proposed cryostat support system regaining its symmetry.

All in all, as stated in the preliminary assessment on the capacity of the new cryostat support, the new design „could result in a more integral and compact solution, with many potential advantages from a mounting and constructability point of view, as well as from a global structural capacity perspective.”

The cryostat ring and the concrete crown that supports it would be connected by way of an arrangement of 18 spherical bearings acting like ball-and-socket joints. Such bearings, which are also used in large bridges, allow for the smooth transfer of horizontal and rotational forces.

Needless to say, all these components will have to retain quality and functionality in a rather harsh environment, where radioactivity will be high and cold very intense—reaching -100°C in the vicinity of the cryostat ring.

ITER Safety Security and Quality and Buildings & Site Infrastructure are now preparing the Support Robustness Demonstration document, which will be submitted to the French Safety Authority (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire, ASN) in January.

When the Demonstration is validated, work will resume inside the Tokamak Seismic Pit where the 1.5-metre-thick Tokamak Complex basemat will be poured.

The "Unique ITER Team"

A "Unique Team" for a unique project. From left to right: Director of the Department for ITER Project Rem Haange; Head of Korean Domestic Agency Kijung Jung; Head of the F4E ITER Departement and ancting DA Head Jean-Marc Filhol; ITER Organization Director-General Osamu Motojima; Director of US ITER Project Office Ned Sauthoff; Unit Manager, Division of ITER Projet at JAEA Eisuke Tada; Deputy Director-General of ITER China Luo Delong; Head of Russian Domestic Agency Anatoly Krasnilikov and Ujjwal Baruah, Project Manager ITER India representing Head of ITER India Shishir P. Deshpande.

ITER TV series resumes

Three years ago, in the spring of 2009, the local TV network Télé Locale Provence (TLP) and the ITER Organization entered into a partnership to produce a series of didactic and entertaining programs about the ITER project.

Six programs were produced in all, each presenting a specific aspect of the project: science, the early works on the platform, safety, the „ITER people,” etc.

The series resumes this Saturday with a program entitled ITER en chantier(s) / The ITER work site(s). Special guests Akko Maas, Laurent Patisson, Ben Slee (F4E), Ken Blackler, Eric Brault (F4E) and Fabrice Simon present the work that has been accomplished over the past year in both the Tokamak Pit and the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility.

The program features the usual on-the-street interviews, this time in Vinon-sur-Verdon, where not everyone seems to be aware of what is happening just a few kilometres from their doorstep …

This seventh program will begin airing this Saturday 8:00 am and 12:30 pm. It will be run on average twice daily for two weeks. (More details here.)

TLP is accessible through the TNT Digital Terrestrial Network Channel 21, the FRANSAT satellite, and the Internet „boxes” Orange, SFR and Numéricable.

ITER en chantier(s) can also be viewed on the ITER Organization Youtube channel. The six previous programs are available on the ITER web site video page (go to Video Categories and click on ITER on Local TV).