The ITER Business Forum 2015 (IBF/2015) will be held in Marseille, France from 25 to 27 March 2015.
IBF/2015 is organized to help industry connect to the ITER Project through information sessions on ITER procurement opportunities, project status, and one-on-one meeting opportunities with some of the industrial players of ITER.
We hope you will take this opportunity to make business contacts with European and international companies! Follow the link at right for enrollment information.
On 5 December 2014, Osamu Motojima, Director-General of the ITER Organization, opened a day-long international workshop on remuneration. Organized by ITER’s Human Resources Division, the workshop gathered over 40 participants from international organizations.
In November, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced a new director for its Plasma Science and Fusion Center, home to the Alcator C-Mod tokamak.
As of 1 January 2015, Dennis Whyte, professor of nuclear science and engineering, will replace Miklos Porkolab, who returns to teaching and research after nearly 20 years as head of the research centre.
In the announcement, Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, thanked Porkolab "for almost 20 years of distinguished leadership and contributions to MIT and the fusion energy community worldwide."
Whyte is a recognized leader in the field of nuclear fusion, with his research addressing the boundary plasma-material interfaces in magnetic fusion.
He received his PhD from the University of Québec’s National Institute of Scientific Research in 1993 and joined the MIT faculty in 2006. His recent research has focused on the novel application of high-energy ion beams for real-time material interrogation in fusion environments, and the use of new high magnetic field superconductor materials for compact, robust fusion pilot plants for electricity production. He was recently recognized with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 2013 Nuclear Fusion Journal Prize, which was presented at the 25th biennial IAEA Fusion Energy Conference last month, for research carried out on Alcator C-Mod.
Read the full story on the MIT website.
The Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) facility at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) is undergoing a major £30 million upgrade that will enhance the UK’s role in international fusion research.
When completed in 2015, MAST-Upgrade will enable scientists to:
Make the case for a fusion Component Test Facility (CTF). A CTF would test reactor systems for the DEMO prototype fusion power plant, and a spherical tokamak is seen as an ideal design for the facility;
Add to the knowledge base for ITER and help resolve key plasma physics issues to ensure its success;
Test reactor systems. MAST-Upgrade will be the first tokamak to trial the innovative Super-X divertor — a high-power exhaust system that reduces power loads from particles leaving the plasma. If successful, Super-X could be used in DEMO and other future fusion devices.
In December, the second of four poloidal field coils was installed as planned. All four coils should be in place early in the New Year.
Read the story on the CCFE website.
The plasma-facing components of the ITER divertor will be exposed to a heat load of some 10 to 20 MW per square metre, ten times higher than that of a spacecraft re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. But a spacecraft’s re-entry only lasts a few minutes, whereas ITER aims to realize hour-long plasma shots.
Spacecrafts like the Space Shuttle are protected from the searing heat by a blanket of insulating tiles that evacuate the heat by radiation; in ITER, the heat will be evacuated by pressurized water circulating through the divertor at the rate of almost one cubic metre per second.
Water enters the complex cooling circuit of the divertor at forty times atmospheric pressure (4 MPa) and at a temperature of 70° C. As it exits, temperature has risen to 120° C and the heat is evacuated by way of a heat exchanger connected to the secondary circuit.
’Pressurized water has the capacity to evacuate the heat flux but it is essential that the water does not fully boil—once vapour becomes dominant we lose much of the heat exhaust capacity,' explains Frédéric Escourbiac, head of the Tungsten Divertor Section at ITER.
There is, however, a particular regime that is welcome by engineers: it is a condition called 'diphasic,' where micro bubbles keep forming and collapsing in the water circuit. 'We want this regime because it is very efficient in terms of heat exchange and keeps the temperature of the structure within the desired range.'
The diphasic condition, however, is an unstable regime: under certain conditions, micro-bubbles grow and coalesce into a large, stable, resistive layer of vapour. This is an unwelcome situation because, when it happens, a large part of the heat exhaust capacity is lost. 'In a few hundreds of milliseconds the component can be damaged,' says Escourbiac.
This event is called 'critical heat flux,' 'boiling crisis,' or 'burn-out.' It is a thermal phenomenon that suddenly decreases the efficiency of heat transfer, causing the localized overheating of a component. It can be caused by the depressurization of the cooling system, the failure of a pump, or a sudden change in the plasma regime leading to a significantly higher heat load—a phenomenon known as 'plasma reattachment.'
Out of approximately 10,000 plasma shots, some 300 plasma reattachments are expected to occur in ITER during the first deuterium-tritium campaign, leading to heat loads up to 20 MW/m² for up to 10 seconds.
Although this estimation was taken into consideration when designing the ITER divertor to withstand heat loads of up to 30 MW/m2, Escourbiac acknowledges that 'at 20 MW/m2, we’re approaching the risk zone. It’s acceptable, but we do not wish to enter into these conditions.'
Experts from ITER and the French CEA Fusion Research Institute (IRFM) have been at work since 2010 to develop an advance warning system—a way of detecting the precursory noise of the micro-bubbles on the verge of coalescing.
At Areva’s Technical Research Centre in Le Creusot, France, Escourbiac and his colleagues Sergey Bender and Alain Durocher use an electron gun to simulate the heat load (up to critical heat flux) that divertor components might be exposed to. They listen to the noise in the cooling circuit of a mockup and record the different frequencies to identify the indicator that will tell them that micro-bubbles are about to collapse.
’We have identified the precursory noise and we know where to install the 50-odd sensors that will be needed to monitor all the plasma-facing components,' says Escourbiac. 'The listening devices will be an integral part of the operational instrumentation, along with magnetic sensors, strain and stress sensors, thermocouples, etc.'
Identifying the precursory signal of critical heat flux will allow for a swift counter-reaction: either halting operation or modifying the plasma regime before irreversible damage is done to the components.
The stakes are high: a damaged plasma-facing component in the divertor would mean at the very least a two-month interruption in operations.
Listen here to the eerie sound of a critical heat flux in a plasma-facing component mockup.
The European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, has held a Final Design Review for the electron cyclotron system—one of the heating systems that will help to bring the ITER plasma temperature to 150 million degrees Celsius.
Manufacturing can now begin on the power supplies for the electron cyclotron system under Europen procurement responsibility.
The electron cyclotron power supplies convert electricity from the grid to regulated direct current and voltage at 55kV nominal, from which the ITER gyrotrons will generate electromagnetic waves. Europe is in charge of procuring eight sets of electron cyclotron power supplies with a total rated power of 48 MW. Another four sets will be supplied by India and the ITER Organization.
While many of the ITER components are manufactured by the Domestic Agencies on the basis of ITER Organization final designs, in some cases, ITER provides the functional requirements only. This is the case for the electron cyclotron system, for which Europe is responsible for the design and therefore also for conducting the Final Design Review.
The Final Design Review of the electron cyclotron system was led by an official review panel chaired by Michel Huart, the former head of power supplies at JET. In addition to international technical experts, representatives from Fusion for Energy and the ITER Organization with expertise in the areas of safety, control, quality assurance, electrical systems, gyrotrons, cooling, and buildings also attended, as well as representatives from Ampegon (the supplier selected last year by Europe to design, manufacture, install and commission the electron cyclotron power supplies) and gyrotron developers from Russia and Europe.
No major issues were identified and it is expected that all open questions will be clarified in the following weeks. Manufacturing will begin in 2015 for the first set of electron cyclotron power supply systems.
Read the full article on the European Domestic Agency website.
The last batch of Russian-produced superconducting strands for the ITER magnet system was shipped for cabling from the Chepetsk Mechanical Plant (Udmurtia) to JSC VNIIKP (Podolsk) on 3 December.
In the last six years, the Chepetsk Mechanical Plant has manufactured approximately 100 tons of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) strand for ITER’s toroidal field conductor and 125 tons of niobium-titanium (NbTi) strand for the poloidal field conductor.
A press release released for the event by the Russian Domestic Agency celebrated the 'revival of the country’s industrial capacity' in the production of superconducting strands due to participation in ITER. Superconducting strands for ITER are unique composite items consisting of more than 10,000 fine (2-6 microns) superconducting filaments (for reference, the thickness of a human hair is 40 to 110 microns). The superconductor manufacturing line in Udmurtia was created and equipped almost from scratch. In the course of developing the production process, the Chepetsk Mechanical Plant solved many technological and organizational issues.
Manufacturing superconducting strand for ITER involves a series of complex operations (assembly, pressing, drawing, rolling, outgassing, purification, etc.) that require absolute accuracy and compliance with technological requirements. From raw materials to the final product, the overall process lasts about nine months.
Read the press release from the Russian Domestic Agency in _Do_press_english.pdf_DoX_English_Dx_ and _Do_Press_Russian.pdf_DoX_Russian_Dx_.
After two years of relying on technology installed at the neighbouring CEA Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (IRFM), followed by another year of operating out of a prefabricated building, the ITER Organization is now equipped with its own permanent virtual reality room on the ground floor of the new Headquarters extension.
Thanks to the installed visualization software, Techviz, ITER’s design engineers can literally "walk through" the ITER machine and the surrounding Tokamak Complex. The 2.5 x 4 m screen makes cooling water piping, vessel supports and any other plant system or component appear true-to-size. Rather than watching 3D animations — which can also be done — the technology is used for checking the design of the ITER machine and the integration of its many components … large and small.
The Governing Board of Fusion for Energy (F4E) has decided to appoint Dr Pietro Barabaschi as Acting Director of F4E with effect from 1 March 2015 until a new Director takes up duties. The Governing Board (GB) has also agreed to initiate the process to recruit a new Director.
Dr Barabaschi will replace the outgoing Director, Professor Henrik Bindslev, who will leave F4E on 28 February 2015. Professor Bindslev has been appointed Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Southern Denmark.
The Chair of the GB, Mr Stuart Ward, expressed, on behalf of its members, his gratitude to Professor Henrik Bindslev for the vision and leadership that he has demonstrated as the Director of F4E which manages Europe’s contribution to the ITER International Fusion Energy Project and the Broader Approach projects with Japan.
Dr Barabaschi has been Head of F4E’s Broader Fusion Development Department at Garching, Germany, since 2008. An electrical engineer, he started his career in the JET Project. In 1992 he joined the ITER Joint Central Team in San Diego and by 2006 he was the Deputy to the Project Leader as well as Head of the Design Integration Division of the ITER International Team at Garching.
For the third consecutive year, young scientists involved with ITER Project implementation from Russia’s major research centres were invited to the Russian Domestic Agency in the framework of the 57th Scientific Conference of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).
Academician Evgeny Velikhov, ITER Council member and president of the Kurchatov Institute, gave the opening, stressing that 'ITER is not only a scientific facility; it is also a technological platform that will provide the basis for fusion energy in the future.'
Participants heard reports on R&D and manufacturing progress for ITER key components, including diagnostic systems (Budker Institute, Novosibirsk; MIPT, Dolgoprudnyj; TRINITI, Troitsk; Kurchatov Institute, Moscow), blanket modules (Efremov Institute, Saint Petersburg; Dollezhal Institute, Moscow), and high-temperature testing of in-vessel components (Efremov Institute, Saint Petersburg; MEPhI, Moscow).
Evgeny Velikhov concluded the conference by expressing confidence that 'sooner or later humanity will certainly come to fusion.'