Everything you’ve always wanted to know about ITER „vacuum requirements” is to be found in a 44-page document (with an added 250 pages of appendixes) called the Vacuum Handbook.
The Vacuum Handbook was approved at project level in 2009 and forms part of the ITER Project Requirements and, as such, is a mandatory document to be followed by the ITER Organization, Domestic Agencies and Suppliers of vacuum equipment to the project.
„Vacuum requirements” encompass the whole set of requirements that must be observed when designing, manufacturing, installing and testing components destined to operate in a vacuum environment.
The Vacuum Handbook, whose first edition was issued in June 2009, is „both general and specific” says Liam Worth, of the ITER Vacuum Section and one of the main contributors to the document. „The Handbook contains a general background on the vacuum environment with the mandatory requirements pertaining to each of the ITER vacuum systems with the 21 appendices providing the guidelines to achieve conformity with those requirements.”
The Handbook’s requirements should be clearly stated in all Procurement Arrangement documentation and are expected to filter down the Suppliers.
Three years into its existence, the Vacuum Handbook „has been very well adopted,” says Liam. „Its value can be judged by the number of deviations from the original edition. As of today, we have granted only one…”
The value of the document is now recognized well beyond the ITER and fusion world. „Non-fusion industries have asked us for copies. And of course, we’re happy to give them.”
„The Handbook”, says Liam, „recapitulates all our knowledge and know-how into one coherent document. All in all, this amounts to about one hundred years of experience.”
At the coming 27th Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT) in Liège, (Belgium) two satellite meetings on the Vacuum Handbook will be held — an opportunity to „explain the rationale behind the requirements, provide some training and reach, beyond ITER and the ITER Domestic Agencies, the wider fusion community as well as industrialists.”