ITER featured on BBC Evening News

On Wednesday  7 August, BBC world ran a feature on ITER in their evening news program. Science Presenter David Shukman and his team had spent two full days on the ITER site investigating about "the world’s most ambitious attempt to harness fusion as a source of power"…See the video to hear his conclusions.

ITER features on BBC evening news

On Wednesday this week, 7 August, BBC world ran a feature on ITER in their evening news program. Science Presenter David Shukman and his team had spent two full days on the ITER site investigating about "the world’s most ambitious attempt to harness fusion as a source of power"…See the video to hear his conclusions.

Pair of safe hands to handle up to 1,500 tons

Fusion for Energy (F4E), the Domestic Agency managing Europe’s in-kind contribution to ITER, has signed a contract with the NKMNOELL-REEL consortium formed by NKMNoell Special Cranes GmbH, Germany and REEL S.A.S., France (part of Groupe REEL) for the design, certification, manufacturing, testing, installation and commissioning of the four cranes that will be used to assemble the Tokamak, as well as the Tokamak cargo lift that will move the casks containing components. The budget of the contract is in the range of EUR 31 million and it is expected to run for five years.

The cranes will be located within the Tokamak Building and the Assembly Building and will operate like a pair of safe hands to move the heavy components between the two areas and position them during assembly with extreme precision. The consortium will deliver two 750-ton cranes that, in tandem, will lift up to 1,500 tons during assembly, two 50-ton auxiliary cranes, and the Tokamak cargo lift.

Sophisticated engineering combined with advanced safety lifting and remote handling technologies are some of the elements that describe the nature of the work undertaken by the two companies.

How will the cranes work?

The four electric overhead travelling cranes will move between the Assembly Building and the Tokamak Building, which is divided in two areas housing the Tokamak and a crane hall above the machine.

The major heavy lifting requirements shall be met by the two 750-ton cranes. Each will be equipped with two trolleys carrying a single 375-ton hoist each. In total, the four 375-ton hoists will provide a maximum lifting capacity of 1,500 tons—the weight of 187 London double-decker buses. The cranes shall be capable of working in tandem to provide a fully synchronized lift and precise positioning. Two auxiliary cranes of 50-ton capacity will be used for other lifting activities, working independently of one another.

Which components?

The principal purpose of the Tokamak crane system is to lift and receive heavy components, support assembly operations, move the cryostat components, and transport the assembled vacuum vessel sectors and other major components. When the Tokamak machine becomes operational there will be no further planned use for the cranes. The 750-ton cranes will remain parked and electrically isolated while the 50-ton cranes will continue to be used in the Assembly Building.

How will the Tokamak cargo lift work?

The Tokamak cargo lift shaft will be located in the Tokamak Building with connecting doors to the Hot Cell. The lift will carry the casks that contain machine components. The cask is 3.7 metres high by 2.7 metres wide and 8.5 metres long—the approximate size of a London double-decker bus, weighing 60 tons when empty. Automated transfer systems and high tech remote handling systems will be deployed to transfer the casks between the various levels of the Tokamak Building and the Hot Cell by remote control. All components involved in the transfer need to be integrated in a seamless manner.

Plasma seeking plasma

It has been an unusual July so far in Provence. Thunderstorms have broken over the site almost every afternoon, causing work to be stopped until the storm front moves on.

Storms over the ITER platform do not come unannounced: when one approaches, the French storm forecast agency Metéorage (a subsidiairy of Météo-France) sends an alert to security personnel, who activate the appropriate siren. Depending on the distance of the incoming storm, the siren sounds an „orange alert,” stopping only the heavy activity, or a „red alert,” requiring full site evacuation.

This spectacular bolt of lightning was captured last Wednesday from a fifth floor window in the ITER Headquarters building after a red alert was sounded.

Lightning is a high current electric discharge in the air that generates a ramified column of plasma. This specific bolt might have been looking for its kindred—the plasma that will be created within the ITER vacuum vessel. The place was right but the time some seven years too early.

CLI hears Nuclear Regulator’s report on inspections

Since January 2012, the French Nuclear Safety Regulator (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire, ASN) has performed five inspections of the civil works on the ITER construction site.

Last Thursday 30 May at ITER, the results of these inspections were presented to the participants in the plenary session of the Local Commission for Information (CLI)—the citizens watchdog group that monitors ITER activities in accordance with the French 2006 Transparency and Nuclear Safety Act.

ASN considers that the organization of the ITER worksite is robust and efficient. In 2012, however, the Regulator noted that there was still room for improvement in the management of „non-conformities”—the small and inevitable deviations from blueprints that occur in construction works.

On a few occasions last year ASN observed that the „notification process” from the moment a deviation is identified by the contractor until a non-conformance report is processed by the ITER Organization needed to be optimized.

Following this remark, the ITER Organization took the necessary measures to ensure that procedures are observed throughout the chain of suppliers and contractors. In its last inspection to date (25 April 2013), ASN noted „a real improvement of the principles adopted and imposed by ITER [to its contractors] in the management of non-conformities.”

Although it is not an obligation, the ITER Organization has accepted that one or two CLI members be included as „observers” in one of the upcoming ASN inspections. Both the ASN and the CLI expressed their appreciation to ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima for this expression of the Organization’s commitment to openness and transparency.

ASN will continue to scrutinize the ITER installation throughout its lifetime and into dismantlement.

A fruitful week for signatures



The presence of representatives from the ITER Members for meetings of the Management Advisory Committee last week was also the occasion to advance the ITER Organization’s procurement agenda: during „MAC week” Procurement Arrangements were successfully finalized with the United States, China and Korea.
In order to conclude the Procurement Arrangement for Standard Components, Vacuum Auxiliary Systems with the United States, a „massive” amount of work was accomplished by the vacuum team comprising ten people from the ITER Organization and five from the US Domestic Agency, according to ITER Vacuum Section Leader Robert Pearce. This Procurement Arrangement—the first to be signed with the US Domestic Agency this year—covers the manufacturing of several hundred pumps of different sizes and technologies, valves, supporting structures and connections.

„It is massive in terms of complexity—it is a highly distributed system that interfaces with about every part of the machine,” says Pearce. „And it is also massive due to the sheer number of individual components that have to be produced, assembled, tested and delivered.”

This brings to 85 the number of Procurement Arrangements signed by the ITER Organization to date out of a total of 140 planned work packages, not including about 45 Complementary Diagnostic Procurement Arrangements. Each Procurement Arrangement represents the transfer of work from the ITER Organization to the Domestic Agencies.

Three Complementary Diagnostic Procurement Arrangements were signed last week, two with the Chinese Domestic Agency and one with the Korean Domestic Agency.

China will supply equatorial port number 12 and a radial X-ray camera diagnostic for monitoring x-ray emission on ITER. Korea will supply upper port number 18. These Procurement Arrangements comprise complete port integration, including port plug, post interspace and port cell structures, diagnostics and services. The integration is a very important and challenging task which is required to ensure the proper functionality of all integrated systems, and diagnostics in particular, as well as to fulfil demands of safety, maintenance and handling.

The x-ray camera installed in equatorial port plug 12 consists of in-port and ex-port modules that are based on similar cameras on other machines, particularly JET. The hot plasma core is a strong source of x-rays. These x-rays carry information about the radiated power, electron temperature, plasma position, and plasma internal motion. Upper port 18 contains the vacuum ultra violet spectroscopy system already undertaken by the Korean Domestic Agency and completes the Korean diagnostic scope.

Management Advisory Committee meets in Barcelona


For the second time in its history, the ITER Council Management Advisory Committee (MAC) convened for an extraordinary session in order to assess the status of the ITER project schedule and the implementation of corrective actions.

The meeting took place from 18-19 March at the headquarters of the European Domestic Agency in Barcelona in the attendance of high-level representatives of the ITER Organization and seven ITER Members.

Since the last special MAC meeting held in August 2012, the ITER Organization has worked closely with Domestic Agencies to complete the integration of Detailed Work Schedules (DWS)—detailed schedules that exist for every component or system. The IO and DAs completed the integration of the remaining DWS, namely Main Vacuum Vessel, IC Antenna, PF Coils and TF Structure, which will allow for monitoring of the schedule.

MAC requested that the Unique ITER Team continue to make significant efforts to take action focusing on super-critical milestones and to take all possible measures to keep to the Baseline schedule. The ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies are committed to doing their best to implement this request.

A 3,500 m² extension for Headquarters



Staff and contractors hadn’t yet taken possession of their offices in the brand-new ITER Headquarters building last autumn and already planning was underway for the second round of works. Between spring 2013 and spring 2014, if all goes according to schedule, the Headquarters building will be extended to the west by 35 metres, providing space for an additional 350 employees.

The original architectural design of the building called for office space for 460, with two options for extension (for an additional 250 desk spaces per option). As early as June 2008, the ITER Organization reported to the Second ITER Council that at least one of the two options would be required: projections for the Construction and Operation Phases of ITER placed manpower requirements at between 1,000 and 1,100 desk spaces.

„Despite the rationalization of the building’s internal layout, which increased its capacity to 500, and another 300 existing desks in the former Headquarters building, the insufficiency of available space for the long-term needs of the project was evident,” explains head of Building & Site Infrastructure Tim Watson.
 
As construction began on the 20,500 square-metre Headquarters, BSI conducted a study of the potential options for additional desk space. One consideration prevailed: in the interest of efficiency, any new office space should be as close as possible to the Headquarters building. Could pre-fabricated buildings be a solution? Or would a permanent extension be more cost efficient in the long run?
 
„It turned out that all indicators pointed to a permanent extension as the most rational and cost-efficient solution,” says Tim. „Pre-fabricated buildings have higher operational and maintenance costs, and in the longer term they have to be replaced. By adding onto the Headquarters building we will be able to capitalize on existing infrastructure such as lifts and some of the heating and cooling system capacity. We’ll also save time by not having to submit a new building permit and by working with the architect and building designers that just completed the ITER Headquarters.”

The proposition of a permanent extension to the Headquarters Building was submitted to the ITER Council in June 2012 and endorsed.

The new extension will be architecturally compatible with the main building—five-stories, the same height and width, and the signature vertical slats on the public facade. Walking along an interior corridor, it won’t be evident where the „old” building ends and the new begins. The building will be equipped with the usual services, meeting rooms and offices for 2-4, and also a large proportion of „open space” offices hosting up to 24 people. One unique feature will occupy an inner room on the ground floor: a 3D virtual reality room that will be used for design and engineering activities.

Since January 2012, BSI has worked closely with the architect and building designers to establish the technical specifications for the extension. Preliminary specifications were distributed through the ITER Domestic Agencies to inform potentially interested construction firms of the upcoming tender to be issued by the ITER Organization. This phase has now ended and the tender offer is on the point of being launched.

For ITER staff, extension works should become a daily reality beginning this summer. Following the award of the extension construction contract, BSI estimates that 12 months will be necessary for building works—an „aggressive but achievable” schedule.

Thanks to Erwan Duval, Facility Management Officer, for his contribution to this article.

ITER is well underway


The Eleventh ITER Council convened last week at the ITER site for a two-day meeting that brought together the high-level representatives of the seven ITER Members.

As approximately 100 people took their places in the solemn setting of the new Council Room, Director-General Osamu Motojima welcomed the participants, adding, „I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Members, in particular Europe, the Host Party, and Agence ITER France for providing the project with the ITER Organization Headquarters building where staff is nearly fully installed.” 

The Council noted the strong measures that have been taken by the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies to realize strategic schedule milestones and to develop new corrective measures for critical systems such as buildings, the vacuum vessel, the cryostat, and the superconducting magnets. Delegates urged further corrective actions to improve schedule execution and to seek additional savings.

Delegates welcomed the integrated project management approach proposed by the ITER Organization to enhance collaboration between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies, an approach, according to Director-General Motojima, to „cooperate even more closely for the implementation of ITER.”

The ITER Council also celebrated the recent major licensing milestone for ITER, the strong pace of construction activities at the ITER site, and the manufacturing activities well underway in all ITER Members.

The next ITER Council meeting is scheduled to take place in Japan in June 2013.

Click here to view the photo gallery of the Eleventh ITER Council
 
Read the Press Releases in English and in French.

"ITER is well underway"


The Eleventh ITER Council convened last week at the ITER site for a two-day meeting that brought together the high-level representatives of the seven ITER Members.

As approximately 100 people took their places in the solemn setting of the new Council Room, Director-General Osamu Motojima welcomed the participants, adding, „I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Members, in particular Europe, the Host Party, and Agence ITER France for providing the project with the ITER Organization Headquarters building where staff is nearly fully installed.” 

The Council noted the strong measures that have been taken by the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies to realize strategic schedule milestones and to develop new corrective measures for critical systems such as buildings, the vacuum vessel, the cryostat, and the superconducting magnets. Delegates urged further corrective actions to improve schedule execution and to seek additional savings.

Delegates welcomed the integrated project management approach proposed by the ITER Organization to enhance collaboration between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies, an approach, according to Director-General Motojima, to „cooperate even more closely for the implementation of ITER.”

The ITER Council also celebrated the recent major licensing milestone for ITER, the strong pace of construction activities at the ITER site, and the manufacturing activities well underway in all ITER Members.

The next ITER Council meeting is scheduled to take place in Japan in June 2013.

Click here to view the photo gallery of the Eleventh ITER Council
 
Read the Press Releases in English and in French.

10 systems, 400 pumps pass Review

World experts on vacuum and fusion safety gathered last week at the ITER Headquarters for the Conceptual Design Review of the Vacuum Auxiliary Systems main delivery. „This is our most diverse Procurement Arrangement, covering 10 systems and including approximately 400 vacuum pumps situated all over the Tokamak Complex,” explained Vacuum Section Leader, Robert Pearce.

The design of the systems was presented in 60 presentations over 3 long days.  Liam Worth, review coordinator, expounds, „The review concludes many man-years of work by members of the ITER Vacuum team; preparations have been particularly intense over the last few months.” Such work led to a successful review and Review Chair Alastair Bell commended the Vacuum team on its high level of preparation.

Passing this Review will now allow the Vacuum teams to progress to issuing the Procurement Arrangement for the systems, which should be ready to be signed between ITER Organization and the US Domestic Agency (US-DA) early next year. „Excellent,” stated US-DA vacuum team leader Michael Hechler who attended the review with four other team members.


Team-building initiative between Japan and Korea

A workshop on fusion technology beyond ITER was successfully held between the Japanese and the Korean Domestic Agencies on 8-9 November at the National Fusion Research Institute in Daejeon, Korea. A first event of this kind, the workshop aimed at sharing the technology and experience of ITER procurement and also at discussing the development pathway for fusion engineering and technology beyond ITER in Japan and Korea.

More than 40 experts in fusion attended from both countries, including the head of the Korean Domestic Agency, Dr. Kijung Jung, and the head of the Japanese Domestic Agency, Dr. Eisuke Tada.

As both Domestic Agencies have entered into the full-fledged process of procurement for ITER, it was beneficial to share technical know-how, and to exchange ideas in regards to meeting the procurement schedule as well as securing core technology without any loss of productivity.

In addition, the workshop contributed to building close collaboration between the Japanese and the Korean Domestic Agencies, precisely in the spirit of the Unique ITER team for the successful implementation of all commitments for the ITER project.


MIIFED 2013: First Announcement

From 2-4 December 2013 the Principality of Monaco will – for the second time – host the Monaco ITER International Fusion Energy Days (MIIFED 2013). This 3-day conference, held under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, will showcase the progress of the ITER project, including the status of construction and manufacturing. The event will also discuss the global socio-economic context of fusion energy, while looking at the future prospects for fusion energy.
 
For further details on the MIIFED 2013 and to download the leaflet click here.

Articles summarizing the first edition of the MIIFED held in 2010 can be found here.


First Russian TF Conductors shipped to Europe

Russia makes progress with the well-timed procurement of the future facility’s components to the ITER Organization. On 9 October 2012, two qualified unit lengths of Toroidal Field Conductors for the ITER magnetic system were shipped from Kurchatov Institute, in Moscow, to the customs office for their subsequent transportation to Europe. These were the copper dummy and the 100-metre qualification conductor, Russia’s first procurement of the Toroidal Field Coils Conductor.

The conductor lengths, manufactured at the Open Joint-Stock Company All-Russian R&D Project-Design and Technological Institute of Cable Industry (OJSC VNIIKP) were delivered from the National Research Centre „Kurchatov Institute”, where they had previously undergone vacuum tests involving special equipment. The next shipment of Toroidal Field Conductors is planned to take place in compliance with the schedule.

Click here to view a video of the operation.


In Liège, a royal visit to the ITER stand

On Monday, 24 September, the 27th „Symposium on Fusion Technology” opened its doors in Liège, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium.

The „SOFT” conference is an important gauge for measuring the progress being made in the development of fusion energy. In its last edition in 2010, it attracted more than 1,200 participants, beating its own record — thus showing the increasing interest in the field.

As he visited the ITER stand, Prince Philippe expressed a strong interest in the project which was presented to him by ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima and Director of the Energy Directorate at the European Commission Hervé Pero.

ITER, as the spearhead approach to fusion energy, will be once more in the centre of the discussion in Liège. the ITER Director-General will be amongst the key-note speakers summarizing the status of the project, followed by representatives from various departments reporting on the latest developments in key design issues.

In two special satellite meetings the ITER Vacuum Team will present the ITER approach to vacuum quality and standards.

And, last but not least…don’t miss a visit to us at the ITER stand to watch the latest videos showing the manufacturing progress around the world and  of course— to get your free tokamak doughnut! 

Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT)
24 — 28 September 2012
Palais des Congrès
Esplanade de l’Europe 2
4020 Liège
Belgium


Thick and strong

Work is progressing on the 6,000 m2 Assembly Building work site as 1,400 tons of reinforcement steel (rebar) are being laid on the blinding concrete, prior to the pouring of the „reinforced concrete foundation”.

This concrete slab, 2.2 metres thick at the perimeter and 1.2 metres thick in the centre, will support the 57-metre high steel structure of the building as well as the assembling tools that will be installed inside it.

As took place in the Tokamak Seismic Pit, the execution of the Assembly Building foundation has been divided into plots and concrete pouring, which began on Thursday 20 Septembre, will be done sequentially. Steel reinforcement for the last plot is to be completed around February 2013.
 


500 students and a new director at Int’l School

Tuesday 4 September saw the start of another school year at the École Internationale Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (EIPACA), in Manosque, where students now number 500, some 45 percent of them being "ITER Children".

The newly appointed Director, Bernard Fronsacq personally addressed every class, welcoming them and stressing the important points in their curriculum for the coming school year.

Mr Fronsacq is a 40-year veteran of the French Éducation Nationale administration with a solid international experience. He spent more than 14 years in North America, having been posted in New York, Montreal and Washington, D.C.

In an interview with the regional daily La Provence, the newly appointed director was quoted as saying that he felt „privileged to be posted in a school that serves a major project for the future of mankind […] This adds an extra dimension to my mission — like being boosted by vitamins…”

Financed by the regional government of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur as part of France’s commitment to ITER, the EIPACA opened its doors to elementary school children in October 2009. Junior and senior high school students joined them in September 2010.


250,000 visitors at Korean Science Festival

Korea’s largest annual science exhibition, the "Korean Science Festival 2012" was held in the convention centre KINTEX in Il-San, north-west of Seoul, on 14-19 August 2012. Over 250,000 students, including their parents, got the chance to experience scientific programs ranging from climate change to energy.

The National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) showed the development of fusion energy by introducing KSTAR, the world’s largest existing superconducting tokamak, and ITER which aims to demonstrate that fusion is one of the answers to our future energy needs.

Through the use of plasma balls, staff from NFRI were able to explain in a simple way the nature and behaviour of plasma, the fourth state of matter. They also gave talks on the work being performed at NFRI, KSTAR and ITER.

The 2012 Korea Science Festival centered on the theme of 'Science and Creativity' was celebrated by all, and the festival was clearly a success.

Leaving the convention centre with memories of a great experience, all the participants were looking forward to the one that will take place next year.